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The Lost Art of Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley 1740-1840

Jese Leos
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Published in With Needle And Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery From The Connecticut River Valley 1740 1840
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With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley 1740 1840
With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley, 1740–1840
by Herbert Ford

4.6 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 15545 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
Word Wise : Enabled
Print length : 113 pages

In the quaint towns and villages along the Connecticut River Valley, young girls spent countless hours practicing their needlework skills. From 1740 to 1840, schoolgirl embroidery flourished as a cherished tradition, passed down from generation to generation. These exquisite works of art, known as samplers, provide a glimpse into the lives, education, and aspirations of young women during this remarkable period.

Historical Context

The Connecticut River Valley was a hub of commerce and culture in the 18th and 19th centuries. Wealthy families sent their daughters to schools where they received instruction in a variety of subjects, including embroidery. Needlework was considered an essential skill for young women, as it demonstrated their domesticity, artistry, and moral character.

Samplers served as a record of a girl's progress in her embroidery studies. They typically featured a range of stitches, motifs, and alphabets, as well as the maker's name and date. Some samplers also included verses or religious texts, reflecting the strong Puritan influence in the region.

Embroidery Techniques

Schoolgirl embroidery utilized a variety of stitches, including cross-stitch, satin stitch, and crewelwork. Cross-stitch was the most common stitch used in samplers, creating a distinctive grid-like pattern. Satin stitch was often used for filling in areas of color, while crewelwork, a more advanced technique, was used to create elaborate three-dimensional effects.

The threads used in schoolgirl embroidery were typically made from silk, cotton, or linen. Silk threads, imported from China, were particularly prized for their luster and durability. The colors used in samplers ranged from vibrant hues to muted tones, depending on the availability of dyes and the maker's personal preference.

Motifs and Symbolism

Schoolgirl samplers featured a wide array of motifs, each with its own unique meaning and symbolism. Common motifs included flowers, birds, animals, fruits, and geometric designs. Flowers, in particular, were often used to represent qualities such as beauty, purity, and grace.

Many samplers also included religious symbols, such as crosses, hearts, and anchors. These symbols reflected the strong faith of the Puritan settlers and their belief in the importance of moral instruction. Other samplers featured patriotic motifs, such as eagles, stars, and flags, which expressed the growing sense of national pride during the Revolutionary War period.

Education and Social Significance

Schoolgirl embroidery played an important role in the education of young women. Through the process of creating samplers, girls aprended not only embroidery techniques but also valuable lessons in patience, discipline, and attention to detail.

Samplers were often displayed in the homes of families, serving as a source of pride and inspiration. They were also valuable as heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation. Today, these exquisite works of art continue to fascinate and inspire, providing a glimpse into the lives of young women from a bygone era.

The art of schoolgirl embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley 1740-1840 is a testament to the skill, creativity, and spirit of young women during this period. These samplers provide a rich and valuable record of their lives, education, and aspirations. As we continue to explore and appreciate these exquisite works of art, we gain a deeper understanding of the past and the enduring legacy of women's creativity.

With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley 1740 1840
With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley, 1740–1840
by Herbert Ford

4.6 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 15545 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
Word Wise : Enabled
Print length : 113 pages
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With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley 1740 1840
With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley, 1740–1840
by Herbert Ford

4.6 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 15545 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
Word Wise : Enabled
Print length : 113 pages
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