Every so often someone who has visited my Stitch Collection sends me an email with a query about Tambour work. Tambour embroidery is a type of chain stitch worked with a fine hook. Originating in Persia and India where the hook is known as ‘ari’ it is a form of embroidery that now hides under a number of terms and names. As a stitch in the West it is sometimes known as Beauvais stitch. As a form of embroidery it is now found in historical collections throughout Europe and a number of craft traditions have developed using the technique.
However when this type of embroidery is worked on a very fine cotton background to produce a tamboured net lace fabric it is known as English Tambour hook Lace, Lace from Lier, Lierse Kant, Coggeshall, or Limerick Lace. As such it is related to whitework embroidery.
All are worked in a similar manner on a hoop under tension, manipulating the thread with a crochet like hook. You have to use a fine relatively loose weave fabric such as muslin, stretched on a frame or hoop in order to manipulate the hook.
To identify tambour embroidery examine the back of the embroidery. Chain stitch that is done with a hook has a continuous thread without any joins whereas, chain stitch done with a needle, will display separate stitches.
I wish more textiles artist would present their work this way. Ground Zero is one of the numerous quilts that have been produced by quilters in response to the twin towers tragedy. Using Bubble Jet Set Lois Jarvis transferred over 800 portraits of those lost on 9/11 to fabric and has created a quilt from them.
As a memorial the quilt is great, but it is the simple and effective web presentation that I really enjoyed. Lois Jarvis allows the user to click on the image to zoom in not once but 5 times so you can have a really good look at the work. Lois Jarvis has thought like a website visitor and knows that every person who examines the quilt is interested in the details and has provided a way of displaying them.
Display of details particularly when talking about images of textiles online is something everyone wants. At textile exhibits in galleries watch what visitors do. The pattern I observe is that they look at the piece from a distance then walk over and start peering at the details. If it’s a really successful piece they will want to touch it. Usually an attendant will pounce and tell them not to touch if they try! On the web we can not satisfy the urge to touch a textile but we can at least give our site visitors details of works so we satisfy the eye if nothing else!
The First national Crazy Quilt retreat is in the process of being organized by Annie Whitsed with the assistance of Canberra Crazy Quilters and a Cyber Committee from the Southern Cross Crazies discussion list. It is to be held on the 1st – 4th October 2004 in an absolutely beautiful bush setting. The location is ideal for a retreat. So if you are heading to Oz in October and have an interest in Crazy Quilting you might like to join us.