The Caron site has a very good article on Samplers Through the Ages by Rita Vainius. The history and making of samplers has held a long fascination for me in part because they are a form of storing cultural information that we do not always think of. When you think of how information is handed from one generation to the next or archived people think of oral transmission and the invention of print and now we think of archiving digital media. Often we forget other memory aids and information storage methods used in the past. Needlework samplers would be one of these instances as samplers were used to teach stitches and act as an aid to memory and store patterns. Band samplers for instance, were kept in a sewing box, information retrieval consisted of simply reaching for the sampler and examining it. They form a cultural archive of the time hence my intrigue with them.

This article lead me to an old favourite Rosemary Powell’s Simply Samplers which has a listing of Sampler motifs and their meanings.

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