“…at the very best it is an art.”

February 18, 2010

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Writer and designer Lewis F. Day wrote Art in Needlework in 1900. While it is similar to other books I’ve reviewed, Day took a much different approach with his writing. In his preface, he stated that “embroidery at the very least is a handicraft, at the very best it is an art.”  His purpose was to “set forth to show what decorative stitching is, how it is done, and what it can do.” He defined embroidery as enrichment by means of the needle; “decoration of a material woven in thread by means still of thread.” 

The majority of the book contains a “series of samplers designed to show not only what are the available stitches but the groups into which they naturally gather themselves.” Day also imparts bits of needlework wisdom; advising “a good workwoman will  not encumber herself with too many tools; but she will not shirk the expense of necessary implements, the simplest by preference and the best that are made.”

I appreciate Day’s opinions and encourage others who believe in his philospohy to join the National Academy of Needlearts, an organization devoted to the advancement of embroidery as an art form.  Go to their website at http://www.needleart.org or click on the link in the Resources section of this blog. Art in Needlework, along with some of Day’s other books, can be purchased through on-line retailers. This particular volume is also available free at  http://www.archive.org/details/artinneedleworkb00dayliala .

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