Trash or Treasure?
Trash or Treasure?
When you look at the above illustration, what do you see? Is this something for the trash heap, torn and mutilated as it is, or is this a rare and wonderful treasure to be cherished and preserved?
When it comes to Ecclesiastical Sewing and embroidery, one sometimes comes across the most unusual things. One looks and scratches the head and wonders.
How about this design? It is torn in the middle. The halves are almost falling apart.
This last one is torn, missing half of the top, and part of the center. Is there any value to these? Should they be thrown in the rubbish bin?
Never! Not in my house, we don’t. To me, these are priceless treasures. Yes, these beautiful Ecclesiastical Designs are in tatters, are torn, and have none of their original beauty or glory. But they represent the hard work and artistic talent of a designer from years ago, creating ideas on paper to be transferred via Needle and Thread to fabric. They represent hours of selfless giving of time and talent to create objects of beauty for use in the Church.
Let’s look at the designs again.
The First Design
This first design, and perhaps my favorite, appears to have someone kneeling, with arms upraised. The person in the background on the right is bending over to pick something up. The person on the left with garments flowing is in the motion of throwing, and crouched at his feet is a person who appears to be holding a bundle. Could it coat? The curved line on the right is the final giveaway that this was a design intended for a cope hood. How I would love to step back in time and see the complete design, and perhaps, a stitched version.
There is no indication of the artist. I know where it came from, and have reasons to suspect a possible artist. But I am no expert. Perhaps someday, I can locate an expert who will provide the final details to the artist. A fair guess would attribute the credit to an English artist or architect. But it is only a guess at this time.
The Second Design
The angel above is also a treasure in my eyes. It is a large piece and may be drawn to scale. Intended uses might include a banner or part of an altar frontal, but it is almost too large to be a part of the altar frontal. I will stick with a banner. Flowing robes clothe the kneeling angel. What might be made of the placement of the wings, with one uplifted to the heights of heaven? Don’t they look like they could be fun to stitch?
The Last Design
Last but not least is this remnant of a chasuble orphrey. Architectural accents adorn the edges of the “Y.” Various motifs would fit in the blank spaces. During the period of Opus Anglicanum, Ecclesiastical Embroidery Designs frequently incorporated architectural details, a trend that continued during the Gothic Revival. So lovely to look at. Now stitching this would be another story for another day!
So, have your say: trash or treasure?
Solo Dei Gloria
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