If you’re up to a needlework-related challenge – or if you just want to browse a fantastic historical embroidery pattern collection – this is for you!
The Dakota County (Minnesota) Arts Challenge sounds fantastic! It’s an art challenge based on a collection of historical needlework patterns.
From the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s, the Hastings Needle Work company in Minnesota produced bespoke embroidered pieces for clients, based on an extensive collection of embroidery patterns drawn mostly by Alice Le Duc, and embroidered by a cottage industry workforce of about 15 other women.
The Minnesota Historical Society offers a small collection of these patterns on their website, where you can view them and even purchase the images.
The contest requires participants to create their art with the media of their choice, be it painting, embroidery, other forms of needlework, wood carving – whatever medium the artist prefers. The goal of the contest is a modern interpretation of historical design.
There are 16 designs that the participant can choose from, and they’re all included on the Arts Challenge Application (PDF).
The patterns are wonderful! I can see them interpreted so many ways, needlework-wise, from simple surface embroidery to highly textured stumpwork to needlepoint canvases featuring a variety of stitches.
Here’s a convenient list of links to help you learn more about the Arts Challenge:
Arts Challenge article in the Star Tribune
Dakota County Historical Society Website (check under events & exhibits)
Arts Challenge Application with patterns (PDF)
If you just want to browse the patterns collection, you can find about 100 of the old patterns from Hastings Needle Work on the Minnesota Historical Society website. Keep in mind that the challenge involves the 16 patterns found on the application.
The deadline for the challenge is March 31, so if you’re up to it and want to participate, you’ll definitely have to get started soon!
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