Saturday, September 27, 2008

Portuguese Embroidery

A very good friend sent me these pictures from a recent trip she made to Portugal. The pictures are of antique embroidery in Alentejo, Portugal.

This first one is intriguing, with the photos stitched in place on it. At least it looks to me like they are stitched on.

My initial inclination would be to print the photo onto fabric but I like the contrast in texture with the paper print.

The other three pieces are even more intriguing--they are made using chestnut skins. From what I can tell, the skins are cut into shapes and stitched down to the fabric.

They're combined with other embroidery stitches, ribbon embroidery, and photos to make really interesting pieces. The chestnut skins have a bit of a sheen and are somewhat similar to the photo paper. I have no idea what the very shiny material is in the red picture

My friend was on tour and didn't have the opportunity to ask more questions about the embroideries. She knew I'd be interested so she took the pictures and sent them on to me. I tried to search information but I don't have the name of the embroidery so I didn't have any luck.

As in most places, there is at least the perception that women no longer have time to stitch. However, my friend indicated that there was a needlework shop there--in an area where there weren't too many shops. It is an undeveloped region, but needlework is something they did have.

If you know anything about this type of work, please let us know!


Anonymous said...

These are beautiful...I hope someone out there can help you find out more about them. Lovely.

terryb said...

I have to wonder if these are mourning pieces. The people in the pictures seem to range in age, yet premature death was certainly not uncommon in their eras. I have not done any research that would verify that thought, but mourning pictures were common in those earlier years, although 1926 as indicated on the red piece is a little later than I would have expected for that and the young couple doesn't seem to be a fit.