Antique, Vintage Society Silk Embroidery—Painting with a Needle and Thread
More than a century ago, women created amazing works of art with a needle and silk thread. Known as society silk embroidery, the luster and smoothness of the silk thread in these pieces, combined with the expert shading and mixing of stitches, created realistic florals and botanicals that, in some cases, rival painted pictures. Dating […]
Estate Executors’ Headaches: What to do with Upholstered Furniture
Writer Amy Gale, in her book “Shows, Shops, & Auctions: Essays on the Antiques Trade,” recounts a tale of London surgeon Samuel Sharp, traveling in Italy in 1760. In the late 18th century, says Ms. Gale, the Italian countryside was a place of “hunger, lawlessness and filth.” Dr. Sharp would agree with her conclusion. On […]
Marghab Linens—The Finest Embroidery Ever Made
Imagine a tablecloth of the finest Irish linen, embroidered with the best French embroidery floss in a design of exquisite colors and flowing lines. Not a stitch out of place or less than perfect; a design so intricate that it consists of more than 85,000 tiny stitches. Only one company ever produced such magnificent work—Marghab […]
The Exquisite Needlework of Appenzell Embroidery
Some of the finest white-on-white hand embroidery comes from a small town at the foot of the Alps in northeast Switzerland. Named for the town where it originated, Appenzell embroidery has been produced since the late 1700s. Through the 18th and 19th century, this exquisite needlework was done by hand by thousands of women working […]
Caring for Vintage Linens and Textiles – Part Two
The Stains are Out – Now What Do I Do? Now that they’ve been washed, the linens are clean and ready to use. The final touch that really brings them to life is a good pressing. I’ve heard people brag that they don’t even own an iron. I actually find ironing linens and textiles to […]
Caring For Your Vintage and Antique Linens and Textiles—Part One
Removing Stains and Washing Textiles and Linens The one question that I get asked over and over whenever I’m doing a show is: “How do you get your linens so clean?” The answer is not very exotic: A lot of soaking and patience! Antique and vintage linens require gentle care, but in most cases, can […]
How to Clean Antique Table Linen
I personally have a passion for antique table linen and usually can find great pieces in less august settings. Therefore, these pieces are sometimes in less than perfect condition. Double, triple and quadruple damask (categories which denote successive levels of thread quantity, the higher the better) in less than perfect condition are usually redeemable.
Zhuang Embroidery Balls
In China’s southwest province of Guangxi, the Zhuang nationality comprises the largest ethnic minority with about 14 million people. I was fortunate to meet types of people from this ancient tribe – men and women and little babies – while touring the region. Wherever I found examples of Zhuang collectibles, the one that struck me as particularly unusual was the embroidered ball.