Friday, 26 July 2013

Broderande berättelser - Stitches that Tell

A long time ago, once I had started taking part in TAST, I also learned about Stitching Fingers and became a member.
It is so nice to see and get inspiration from all the wonderful things other needle workers create, to be able to show my work and to receive comments and help.

One of the biggest attractions is that you find members from all over the world and can learn so much about styles and methods favoured in other areas of the Globe.

One day I got to know a Swedish member, Ingalill Jigborg. Since then she has been sharing with me the events of the Embroiderers' Guild of Sweden or BRAK Täckelbo Broderiakademi.

As I am now in Sweden I thought I would take the opportunity to visit the BRAK's 20th Jubilee Exhibition. It is held in the town of Eskilstuna, at the City Museum.

The theme is 'Broderande Berättelser', which roughly translates to Stitches that Tell.
Oh, what a delightful show! It was well hung and well lit.

The accompanying book, hardcover, and beautifully printed, held a story for each embroidered picture.
Some stories and pictures brought tears to my eyes, others made me smile and many gave me an opportunity to reflect on life, lifestyles and values.

Here are a few examples:
'The story of my life is written in my face'

'Livstecken' by Berit Johansson

'Då och nu: arvet' by Bodil Englund is a celebration of needlecraft though generations.

In this collage she has incorporated pieces made by herself, her mother and grandmother. Her wish is that this piece will inspire the next generation to continue stitching.

Here is another celebration of a Mother.
AnnMargret Johansson Pettersson has made a beautiful line drawing embroidery of her mother. We can see how she, through hard labour, did the washing in the 50s.

I love the added red cross stitches.
Ljuset (The Light) by Elisabeth Kalvenes-Skallsjö
An interpretation of light seen in a small chapel in Italy.
In spite of all the structure of gimp and lace, this is indeed a 'light' piece.

A lot of structure can be found in this piece by Sophie Holmblad, 'Det händer i hjärtat'.
She has felted and painted the hands, added real pencils and small items. Again, it is in celebration of hobbies and crafts three generations have busied their hands with.

I like the attractive composition of this piece: 'Tant Vera' by Helga Aiff

The old lady is just a shadow in her colourful and lush garden. The flowers are cleverly made up of simple stitches over small scraps of fabric.

Now for Ingalill Jigborg's creation:
'Första mötet'.

It is a delightful scene from the day in her childhood when she stood on one side of the street where the tram ran. On the other side stood another 4-year-old girl. They looked at each ohter, wanted to play and become friends but their parents had strictly forbidden them to cross the street.
The story has a happy ending; their parents relented and they were eventually allowed to meet and have stayed friends for more than 72 years. Isn't that a wonderful tale?
Look at all the details, the smart use of fabric for the trees and the stones on the pavement, the fence and the dress, ribbons, lace... This piece is full of childhood innocence and charm.


  1. How fortunate that you could attend this exhibition! Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us!

    1. For this event there were no 'formal' embroideries, and the way each and every contributer made their free-form embroidery was fascinating.

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I enjoyed the photo's and the stories. It must have been a pleasure to see them.

  3. I enjoyed looking at the different works, thanks for sharing.

    1. So many pieces, nearly a hundred, to get inspiration from.

  4. Great exhibition and I love their site. It is going to keep me occupied for weeks. Also, as I am on the Committee of the Queensland Embroiderers' Guild I have recommended that they have a good look as well.
    Thanks for the link.

    1. It was a great exhibition, lighting and space, and the order in which the pieces were hung added to the quality. I enjoyed the variety of styles and the catalogue had two pictures of each piece, a full and a close up.
      Thank you for taking an interest in such a small guild.
      Did you know about the World Embroidery Day?

  5. What an inspiring show! I'll bet you come home with lots of ideas ... luckily they won't add weight to your suitcase.

    1. Ha, ha! It is a good thing that ideas are weightless and can pass any security check at airports! I have plenty of ideas in my suitcase already and tend to pick up new ones every day.

  6. such a variety of different techniques etc. The one that caught my eye is the last one of the two little girls on opposite sides of the road, such a touching story

    1. Yes, isn't Ingalill's story charming? It brought tears to my eyes when she wrote to me about what she was working on for the show. I am so happy to have met her on Stitching Fingers. It was a great show.

  7. What a lovely collection of work, I like how each piece tells a story, they have been very well thought out!

    1. A lot of the embroidery was based on an event in the past, or made in honour of a dear family member. Some held messages or urged us to rethink our lives. About 50% had some kind of old material, recycled tea towels or lace from mother's stash.

  8. Wow, what beautiful pieces. Lots of inspiration for you to carry back to Japan. I especially like the line drawing of the dear mother doing laundry.

    1. I got a lot of inspiration from the lovely exhibition.
      The story behind the laundry lady is that the daughter while tossing laundry in the washing machine/tumble dryer would think of how her mother used to wash the families clothes in huge barrels of lye, mangle out the water and then rinse, mangle, rinse, mangle, rinse, mangle... carry everything outside to hang and dry in the sun.


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