Constance Howard, was a inspiring teacher and author who pioneered embroidery in textile design and made a colossal impact on contemporary embroidery. Her books were published in the 60’s and 70’s and you spot them I am sure a contemporary embroiderer would still learn from them.
Make a cuppa and browse the Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles which is hosted by Goldsmiths College, University of London. This is one of those online resources which become more enjoyable the more you poke about. You need to use the search box however. I typed “samplers” into the image search box and discovered lots of interesting textiles to browse and learn from.
Constance Howard worked this stitch sampler in black and white in the late 1970’s or early 1980s. It consists of rows of black and white stitching on a grey linen. Constance Howard is demonstrating working one stitch in 2 colours. Follow the link for close ups and details.
In this sample we can see Constance Howard experimenting with raised chain band.
This small sampler of multi-coloured, raised chain band is worked on red wool fabric by Constance Howard for one of her books
This sample worked by Constance Howard to illustrate the design process explained in her book ‘Inspiration for Embroidery’. The design is based on the two halves of a circle and realised in stiffened appliqué fabric.
This experimental sampler of free surface stitches is described as ‘Nets made with stitches, spots made with stitches‘ written on the mount by Constance Howard.
As I said all of these samples were worked between the 60’s to the 80’s and contemporary embroiderers owe her much as her creativity and emphasis on design pushed embroidery into a direction that many today do not venture! She was the first to say “it’s Ok to explore a stitch” and saw stitches as making graphic marks.
The Constance Howard sampler Resource and Research Centre in Textiles collection held by the University of London at Goldsmiths, pay the site a visit and learn a bit about contemporary embroidery too!