15 March 2008

Woodlawn Plantation Show

I visited the 45th Annual Woodlawn Plantation Needlework Show in Alexandria, Virginia, yesterday. It was a nice show, though I will never understand how they judge that sucker. We used to joke that if you were a man and entered something, you automatically won. This is not so true anymore.

It seems to me that there were far fewer big cross stitched pictures this year. There were the standard Lavendar and Laces and Miribilias, along with the gigantic samplers, but not a lot of just straight large pieces. Interesting and unexpected. A lot of my favorites got hosed--there was a gorgeous photo-to-chart of a sunset through tree branches that got NOTHING. That would make me so mad as a stitcher. And a huge TW Peacock Tapestry got squat. Since I attempted that piece (attempted, not finished) I know how much work went into it, and it would irk me if that was my piece. BUT, and this redeems the show in my estimation, a very lovely rendition of the Mary Beale Advent Calendar, done over 1, won a ribbon. It was stunning, and I want that pattern now. More than I did before.That thing will be huge when completed. I was, as always inspired by the canvaswork. I think that may be something I take up next, but not sure. I am starting to really enjoy using different stitches and creating different textures. It's fun and they have stunning work there.

It was also a chance to see Nelly Parke Custis' needlework. It was on pretty good shape for being 200 years old. And I have to say, I thought one of her footstools was an entry. So when anyone says to me, "I don't stitch with the idea of it being passed down," I am going to remember Nelly's footstools. She didn't probably do that either, and they were probably used--imagine how many muddy feet were plopped on those footstools--and yet, here they are. Not to mention, and this was pointed out to me by a fan of antique samplers, the whole idea of only working on samplers with clean hands and never getting the fabric dirty is just hooey. Back in the day, women didn't bathe as much, and I am sure they didn't wash their hands after cooking and taking care of kids and working in their flowerbeds. Well, maybe they did if they were ladies, but probably not as often, and so dirt and grease got on the samplers and some managed to last til now. Perhaps they formed a protective coating against time. I do know sunlight damages materials, maybe it didn't bother those old samplers becuase they didn't have as many windows due to the cost of glass? I don't know, but it just goes to show you, you don't have to treat your needlework like bone china, it can take a little bit of stress. HOHRH was sorely abused over its two years in creation--Chancey sat on it, it got hauled to 4 states in a car, I ate while working on it, and it still was up for Best of Show. So there ya go. But I still keep my trusty Tide-to-Go pen nearby. Works like a champ.

And of course, i had S.E.X. yesterday. Not much, but enough. They didn't seem to have that skein of Belle Soie I needed, so have to order that, but i got a couple cute charts, including an advent calendar.


Pumpkin said...

That must have been so fun to go see. We don't have a lot of shows like that around here.

I agree. I think we are taught to treat our needlework with kid's gloves but I don't think it's as delicate as we're told it is. To me, it's there to enjoy and admire :o)

jo said...

I, too, am stymied by the judging at Woodlawn. This year for the first time, I entered 3 pieces - not expecting to see anything on two of them. But I think another stitcher and I got hosed in our category. And an 80 year old friend didn't get anything for her Elsa Williams crewel heron. Which astounds me. Go figure. It is nice to see so many beautiful stitched pieces in one place.

I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped--Frederick Perls