Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Bit of History: Part I - Victorian Fiber Arts

I had actually put together a whole bunch of notes for the Nova Albion Fiber Arts panel. As I am a former teacher (and history buff), I decided that knowing a bit of history was a good starting point. (Obviously, this is not a comprehensive history, but serves merely as a primer, and my time line *stops* at the Victorian era).

This is a 3-part series. So, without further ado....

A Bit of History Fiber Arts....

Victorians loved their crafts, including:
• cross stitch
• embroidery
• knitting
• tatting/netting/knotting -- a form of lacework
• Braid lace
• applique work
• silk ribbon work
• also a lot of other Victorian crafts, including scrapbooking, decoupage, etc

(If you think scrapbooking or decoupage is a modern invention, then think again....)

The Victorians LOVED lavish decorations. Elaborate designs were popular and adding trim to everything was common. (Lace curtains, elaborate quilts, embroidered clothing, lace edged hankerchefs, decorated frames, etc). These trims also served to hide alterations for clothing -- when older styled clothes were re-cut for later fashions or altered down to fit smaller relatives.

Victorian girls & women were expected to be proficient in a number of activities and to have "useful leisures" (especially in the middle-to-upper classes). Many young girls (as young as 6 years old) would have done "samplers" to show off their needlework and knowledge of the alphabet. Women in lower classes were expected to know a lot of these arts in order to make a living as sewers or to just be able to repair/make their own clothing.

Links of Interest

(next Post: Knitting History)