Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years Resolution

Whether your in to making resolutions or not please consider submitting a piece to Woodlawn for exhibit March 2 - 31st 2011. Woodlawn is an annual juried show of "contemporary Needlework" held in Alexandria Virginia during the month of March. Entry forms are available on their website One thing I love about this show is that it is only open to pieces completed with a Hand Held Threaded Needle, so this show really does apply only to us stitchers.

The nation’s premiere exhibition of contemporary needlework is held annually at Woodlawn, a National Historic Landmark located in Alexandria, Virginia. Woodlawn was the home of Eleanor Custis Lewis, one of America’s foremost needleworkers. For details on eligibility, divisions, categories, techniques, fees, and more, please refer to the link below. This link also includes the required entry form. Entry forms must arrive no earlier than January 10 and no later than February 12. Woodlawn is a completely self-supporting, nonprofit historic site. Your support is vitally important to us. Your participation helps support ongoing efforts to maintain and restore this National Historic Landmark:

My motivation for inviting you all to consider this is because; well, first let me say I have not been nor entered the show before using the I'm too busy excuse but when I see the many, many pictures of the needlework exhibited my impression is they so need needlepoint pieces that have some degree of creativity. Honestly, I don't think they are hurting for submissions, though maybe they are. When I see what has been photographed and available to view online I saw piece after piece after piece after piece of basketweave. I've got no problem with basketweave but, for example, the crewel piece below is an extraordinary example of compostion, color and technique. Picking thread colors that match what was painted by the designer does not compare to this piece of crewel embroidery by Thalliaferro.

I think all us stitchers who like to fool around with color, texture and stitches need to open the eyes to the jurors about what "contemporary" needlepoint is about. I'm not knocking all the skilled and dedicated stitchers who dutifully submit their work whether it be counted thread, smocking, japanese embroidery etc, its just that there appears to be this gaping hole of new, fresh and progressive use of the needle and thread. Most of the other techniques exhibited have not changed in the past several decades, if not centuries but time has not stood still. The deadline is February 12th, so please consider something you've already finished or are close to finishing. You don't necessarily have to love it or believe its your best piece yet but I think its important to let the world see how needlepoint has transcended basketweave and paternayan wool. My New Years resolution is to submit atleast one piece or ideally two or three. I welcome all comments by anyone, especially those who have submitted in the past and or know something about the judging process.

Original crewel work by Talliaferro.  Appleton crewel wool on linen twill.
"Autumn Quilt"  a canvas work piece, designer Laura J Perrin.
This Chart is available at the Nimble Needle webstore.
Detail from a canvaswork piece.
Update: Credit is Due
The canvaswork piece featured in my January 3rd post is an original piece designed and stitched by Jeff Kulick.  Thanks to Jane of Chilly Hollow I can give credit where credit is due, not to mention I now know more about this special piece.  Apparently it got much deserved recognition at the 2010 show.  As I mentioned yesterday this is exactly the type of work that Woodlawn 2011 could use more of.  Not a piece to walk by and so "oh thats nice" but a piece to give reason for pause and admiration.  Thank you Jeff and thank you Jane for helping me find its "owner".


  1. Jeff Kulick's original Halloween colors sampler shown above is stunning in person, as is all his work, much of which is original. It was one of the few original pieces from the 2010 Woodlawn show. I hope to see more original pieces this year. The trend lately at Woodlawn seems to be all basketweave pieces done in a variety of thread types. This isn't the easiest thing to pull off but I still like seeing something fresh and contemporary.

    Bravo to Nimble Needle!

  2. Jane, thank you for letting me know who the artist/designer/stitcher was. Thank you Jeff! ( I hope you have something to submit this year too). I wasn't aware until now that his piece was duly recognized at the 2010 show. Its the type of work that I think addresses a creative direction in needlepoint and/or canvaswork that deserves more exposure. Even more so now knowing its an original piece. Wow, just look at all those different stitches.

  3. The crewel piece was designed and stitched by my friend (and former collaborator) Anna Goiser designing as Talliaferro. Jane beat me to the punch with identifying Jeff's stunning take on Halloween. I've submitted original cross-stitch pieces several times, and received ribbons, but won't have one for this year. I'm a convert to charted needlepoint, or canvaswork, and have done little else for the past one to two years. Soon I hope to design something, still learning the stitch vocabulary though. I did get a ribbon for my take on Jean Hilton's "Turnberry Ridge" last year, which was thrilling. When I had my shop I always urged my customers to submit their work and carried 25 or more pieces to Woodlawn for them for several years.


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