Friday, January 29, 2010

What's on my wall: Inspirado

This little darling has always been in my life. It hung in my mother's room when I was growing up and she was nice enough to let me have it when I moved out. I don't know where it came from, or who it was made by.

On the back of the frame, in two places, is written B 350. It almost looks like a price, but I don't know if it is, or even if it is, if the price refers to the frame or the entire piece. My good friend KatinkaPinka used to have a storefront in South Austin with a couple of other ladies and they would have initials on their price tags to indicate who made what; that's my best guess for the B.

It hangs on a little strip of wall just big enough for it right outside my bedroom door. I look at it a little bit every day, some days more than others. I never get tired of getting up close and examining the variety of careful stitches that are so much more than they even needed to be. The extra touches of detail in the stitches is what gets me every time. I love to embroider and it seems to be somewhat of a fading art.

Someone doing a piece like this today is probably a fractional likelihood compared to when this was probably made, but even if someone were to take the time to do it now, I doubt that they would include all the nuance and care that went into this. I look at it and think, well, I can do that stitch, or I could probably figure that one out, or how did she do that? But I'm almost always struck by how the artist "went the extra mile" in a way that I'm not sure I would have. This is somewhat sobering, as I pride myself on being someone who "brings their A-game" most of the time, especially on craft projects. I have to imagine that it came from a time when there was simply less to occupy yourself with. No computers, TV etc. It must have been quietly lovely, but I won't get all romantic about times past, there's no point to it really. At any rate, it wouldn't be as inspiring to me if it were more on my level. My mother, the art teacher, summed it up with "If their work is better than yours, learn from it. If it's worse, feel better about your own."

That's not entirely fair though, because artists who are less practiced or comfortable with a medium than you can still inspire with their ingenuity, style, spirit or sheer drive to create.

Anyway, was taking another look at it and thought I would share my little moment.


  1. Hey this was really nice to read- I never really knew what it was about this that you responded to so much. I like the narrow focus of this blog entry. I'll have to look at this closely the next time I'm over, those little fleurs are gorgeous!

  2. I like how your "little darling" and blogge background have similar color schemes. I'm teaching myself how to embroider and would love to pick up tips from a veteran. Let me know if you want to get together!

  3. I am always up for an embroidery get together! If you're willing to come to me, we can do it almost any evening. You'll need to wait until D goes to sleep (7:30 ish) to get my full attention.

  4. What a charming story behind a treasured piece of handiwork. I love looking at vintage handmade work and thinking about the hands that made it too.

  5. Well you know I love embroidery and that is a magnificent piece! I also love all of the detail....and thank you so much for sharing!