My Google search on the meaning of stitches wandered off into tapestries. According to Wiki: Tapestry is a form of textile art traditionally woven by hand on a loom. Below is “The Hunt of the Unicorn” tapestry:
When regular cloth is woven, the warp threads go all the way from one side of the cloth to the other. In tapestry weaving, one color is stopped and a different colored thread is added. Like this:
So, in a tapestry, the image and the cloth are created as one. The threads - the warp and the weft - form the story.
Now, take a look at the very famous Bayeux Tapestry:
….you see that the images are EMBROIDERED on the background cloth. The Bayeux Tapestry is a not, technically, a tapestry. It’s a long, story-telling cloth with beautiful stitches, which has inspired many imitators:
Such as the Hastings Embroidery, (above) commissioned by Captain Ralph Ward in 1965 to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. Intended to be a modern-day equivalent of the Bayeux Tapestry, the Hastings Embroidery is not, technically, an embroidery since it was sewn in applique ( a technique where patches of cloth are carefully sewn on to create images). Then there’s the New World Tapestry:
The New World Tapestry (above and below), is, technically, an embroidery. It was made between 1980 and 2000 and depicts English colonization attempts in Newfoundland with racist, cartoon-like imagery.
The Overlord Embroidery (below, an applique which they say is hand sewn, but looks machine sewn, at least in online images) tells the story of Operation Overlord, (the code name of the Allied Normandy invasion in 1944):
The Quaker Tapestry (below) Illustrating the history of Quakerism, seems to do the best job of honoring the spirit of the Bayeux original. The design was influenced by the Bayeux Tapestry, and includes similar design choices, including three horizontal divisions within panels, embroidered outlines for faces and hands, and solid infilling of clothing, which is embroidered in the Bayeux technique. The tapestry is worked in crewel embroidery using woollen yarns on a handwoven woollen background. In addition to using four historic and well-known stitches (split stitch, stem stitch, chain stitch and Peking knot), Wynn-Wilson invented a new corded stitch, known as Quaker stitch, to allow for tight curves on the lettering. 4,000 men, women and children from 15 countries worked on the panels between 1981 and 1989. (wiki)
How does MY work fit into this? Are my tapestries really tapestries? Not even close…
Tapestries in name only, my art is really just a high-tech variation of a vintage technique - hand painted embroidery:
I’ve found a few of these at garage sales. They seem to have been popular in the 1950’s:
But I don’t know if the colored areas were painted on by the embroiderers or were pre-painted by the manufacturer who printed the pattern. There’s also a much finer variety seen on Japanese embroidery (below) Not sure if that’s hand or machine stitching.
Anyhow, the point of the painting was to achieve more color with less work, and the painted examples which I’ve found at garage sales generally have a low-skill level of embroidery . And I do feel like I’m cheating by using Spoonflower rather than hand-painting the dyes on myself.