Next month, from March 12 – March 15, Aiguille en Fête, one of the world’s premier needlework conventions, takes place in Paris at the Expo Porte de Versailles.
The convention and market boasts over 1000 hours of needlework workshops in all kinds of disciplines, with nearly 240 exhibitors showing off their wares. It is a “window on art and textile culture,” and it is well attended by people from all over the globe.
This year, Au Ver a Soie will be celebrating their 200th Anniversary, and their booth at the market will be all about celebrating that milestone.
Joining them will be Tricia Nguyen of Thistle Threads and Lamora Haidar of Access Commodities. These two intrepid ladies are the impetus behind bringing a multitude of beautiful new threads to the US market that are built on foundations of Au Ver a Soie silk.
Many of you may remember that, back in 2007, Tricia Nguyen spearheaded the Plimoth Plantation jacket project, wherein a 17th century embroidered jacket was recreated with the help of visiting volunteers who were able to stitch on the jacket.
During that adventure, a new thread came to market – Gilt Sylke Twist – and has since remained available. It’s the thread used on the blue flower in the photo above.
The engineering and creation of this thread and the establishment of it on the needlework market demonstrated to manufacturers that it was worthwhile to undergo the time and expense required to bring other similar, but obsolete, threads back into existence.
Thanks to the 17th century embroidered casket classes offered through Thistle Threads, which are the result of Tricia’s painstaking research and troubleshooting with all kinds of fantastic threads, the needlework market enjoys a variety of threads that we didn’t have available just ten years ago.
Thanks to Tricia, Lamora, and the folks at Au Ver a Soie, many of these new threads are available across a range of historically accurate colors, built on foundations of different types of silk.
The whole history of this thread development is exciting and fascinating – but it is far too detailed and intricate for me to recount in one article!
Today, I just wanted to point out a few things for you to take note of, in case you want to research further, or in case you’re going to be traveling near Paris next month.
First, Aiguille en Fête takes place in Paris next month, March 12 – 15. Tricia will be there, and she’s traveling over with her embroidered casket – and other goodies – for the exhibition. She’ll be exhibiting next to the Au Ver a Soie booth, and she will be lecturing each day at 1:45 on the caskets and materials used to make them, including the threads, their history and re-development. If you are able to make it to the market, there are many, many reasons to do so, but I think, for anyone interested in historical needlework and beautiful threads, this is an exhibit you won’t want to miss!
Second, Au Ver a Soie will be celebrating their 200 year anniversary at the fête and they will have their book available that highlights their 200 years of history, plus the work of many designers who use their threads worldwide. In the book, you’ll find contributions from designers from all over the world, including (among many others) Trish Burr of South Africa, Jane Nicholas and Susan O’Connor of Australia, Nicola Jarvis in the UK, Pascal Jaouen in France, and from me, too.
And Third, if you have harbored a life-long dream of working with these beautiful historical threads and of creating your own heirloom embroidered casket, you should definitely take a look at Tricia’s Harmony with Nature online class.
It is expansive and huge, covering the history of these embroidered caskets, video and instructions to teach you the methods in stitching and finishing the box, the casket itself (the actual built box), and the hundreds of silk and metal threads, stumpwork supplies, the finishing materials, the hardware, fabric, slate frame – everything you need to successfully complete your own heirloom box.
Since the casket is no longer being made, it’s a very limited opportunity. Yes, it’s pricy, but there’s also a monthly payment option that may make it more achievable. You can read more about it here.
If you’d like to explore a little more, try these:
Tricia’s Five Senses embroidered double casket video, where you can see the intricate construction of an embroidered casket, secret drawers and all.
Janet Brandt’s intricate World of Possibilities Casket revealed in this video – again, secret drawers and all kinds of fantastic stumpwork elements.
Thistle Threads blog, where you can explore all kinds of curious information about the redevelopment of historical threads, the making of 17th century reproduction caskets, and the like.