Embroidery is an ancient skill. The examples from medieval Europe are exquisite. Whether the artisans were embroidering flowers on dresses, hunting scenes on upholstered furniture, or pastural views on wall hangings, the pieces that are still remaining completely enthrall me. I love to look at the stitches as closely as I am allowed. The workmanship is so often unbelievable.
Ecclesiastical embroidery just astounds me. I grab every opportunity I can to see the examples of parishioners and the work they have done. There is a story in my church about a pair of sisters in the late 1800s, early 1900s. The story goes that they were member of my church. Their husbands were not and forbid them contributing any money to the parish. They struggled with how they would give. The solution was to make beautiful vestments. These same vestments lasted over 100 years. The church provided the materials. These vestments are wonderfully embroidered with gold and silk on silk. They are a joy to touch and smell (yes I do that) and see. My own husband is forever embarrassed when we visit a church while traveling and I request to snoop in their closets to check out their own vestments. Astounding stuff.
And the far east antique embroideries are often beyond description. Maybe because it is more exotic to me, but I love the simple designs, the wonderful materials and the extraordinary workmanship that I have seen. That these treasures have survived for hundreds and even thousands of years, is unimaginable.
And, all of these examples were created by some artist that needed to express themselves in amazing ways with simple woven fabric and colored thread.
And we still find ourselves drawn to these art forms today.