Needlework and photography are certainly not considered kissing cousins, but did you know that possibly the first photo ever printed was put on cloth, not paper?
Photography was invented simultaneously by Daguerre in France and Talbot in England in 1839. Talbot was a great friend of William Mercer, who invented mercerized cotton, so it was natural to experiment with images on fabric. The revived interest in super-realism has made the photograph an indispensable tool to the designer. Up until now, the problem has been how to get the photo onto fabric efficiently and inexpensively. With the advent of color Xeroxing, this riddle has been solved.
Color Xerox prints can be made by almost any photo-copying service, so by this means you can have portraits of yourself, your dogs, your house or your favorite flower heat-transferred onto canvas for needlepoint, or polyester and cotton fabric, for combining with crewel embroidery.
Just take your color photo, drawing or design to any photo-copy service and ask for the Xerox trans-seal 6500 method. One word of warning: To get good, clear color, the fabric you transfer to must have a percentage of polyester in it. This new method also has opened up all sorts of new avenues of design possibilities in combining photography with applique or quilting.
Eastman Kodak has just announced a new exhibit called Electroworks which will be traveling to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and Toronto in 1980 and 1981. Electroworks is one of the first exhibitions to critically examine the scope and impact of work produced by artists with copying equipment.
Approximately 250 works of art, including prints, books and three-dimensional items created with the copying machine, are featured in the exhibition. It is interesting that Electroworks also will explore the greatly debated and interesting esthetic concepts of this new art medium.
Q. I recently inherited my great-grandmother's silk quilt. It is magnificent and, I'm told, very valuable. However, it needs cleaning and some slight repairs and I wonder if you know of any place that might do such work. Anything you can tell me will be appreciated.
A. A wonderful new group has just come to my attention that does just the work you are looking for. It is the Textile Conservation Workshop, Main Street, South Salem, N.Y. 10590. Write and ask them to send you their brochure which outlines their services, fees, etc. This is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of fine textiles.
Q. Several months ago I started a crewel picture of my house that I had an artist friend put on linen. This is the first time I have ever done a design that wasn't in a kit and now I'm stuck for stitches. It seems every solid area is satin stitch or long and short and every line is stem or chain stitch. Any suggestions?
A. Any house can easily be built with stitches. How about simulating bricks with burden stitch, or a shingle roof in rows of buttonhole stitch. Shutters could be in raised chain stitch, and turkey work would make effective shrubbery. Let your imagination take over and you'll find that you'll have great fun building your house.
Q. I've been told that if anyone can help me, you can. I am looking for advanced designs in cross stitch and needlepoint and just cannot find what I am looking for. Can you help me?
A. Well, I've always said America is the original "do-it-yourself country," so you can guess what I'm going to recommend. Individual taste in design is as varied as one's sense of taste or smell. Thank goodness, or everything would have a boring sameness. So, to be really happy and get exactly what you want, design it yourself.
This doesn't mean you must sit staring at a white sheet of paper with a pencil in your hand, hoping for inspiration. You can use the wonderful books available to needleworkers and designers and the services of your local newspaper to have things photostatically enlarged or reduced.
You can combine designs, graphs and patterns, cut out paper to make your design shaper, and end up doing very little actual drawing yourself.
Some good reference books are: "Morocco Embroidery," "Central Asian Embroidery," "Yugoslavian Embroidery" and "Flora and Fauna," all published by DMC; "Seasoning With Cross Stitch," by Graphic Arts, P.O. Box 536 Jamestown, N.C. 27282. Maggie Lane (her books are published by Charles Scribner's) has exquisite Chinese designs. Your local library should help.