2001 National Exhibit, Washington, D.C.
by Sandy Rodgers

Each of the stitchers whose work accompanies this discussion was asked to provide more information about his or her needlepoint. Click on either the name of the piece or the thumbnail picture to see the stitcher's commentary and a larger picture.

What Is Needlepoint in 2001?

Each year as I marvel at the Seminar Exhibit, I wonder how our ANG members can possibly duplicate the level of skill and innovation at the next year's display. But they always do. They always come up with something new, something fresh, inventive, and creative. Over and over they prove that what once were considered traditional rules, actually are the foundation for today's needle artists. But never are these rules the limitation of either the artist or the art form. Above all, our ANG members keep learning and continue to stretch their level of expertise.  

Certainly we're not all experts in all aspects of needlepoint. However, we keep trying and practicing. The wonderful thing is that, as we practice, we're doing something that we love! This learning and education is one of the things that ANG is all about.

The ANG Seminar Exhibit is an excellent representation of what contemporary needlepoint really is. Wandering though the display, you'll see samples of free stitchery, counted work, interpretation of painted canvases, fabric manipulation, charted work, pieces with ground threads removed, pieces with ground threads distorted, and so very much more. You'll see abstract, geometric, traditional and non-traditional interpretations. If it is a type of embroidery done with a hand-held threaded needle on a ground material that is readily counted, it's likely you'll find an example of it in this display. One thing that all these exhibits have in common is that they are each timeless in their expression. And as extraordinary as this year's pieces are, it is very likely that the artists who created these works are even now working to improve and learn more about this art form we call needlepoint.  

The ANG Seminar Exhibit is judged by a panel of highly qualified, certified judges. Ribbons with beautifully stitched centers, themselves works of art, are awarded in several categories.

It is my honor and privilege, as well as very real pleasure, to select and present my personal observations on a limited number of the ribbon winners from the 2001 ANG Seminar Exhibit. Because of space limitations, the most difficult aspect for me in preparing this material was deciding which pieces to include here.

Exhibit Categories:  

1. Creative Needleart

A composition created in its entirety by the artist. 

2. Independent Project

Worked without person-to-person interaction, without a teacher in a physical classroom environment. Includes work in a CyberWorkshop, from a chart, book, line drawing, or a kit.  

3. Painted Design Without Stitch Guide

Worked on pre-painted or stamped canvas, or on a canvas designed for the exhibitor. The choice of stitches, threads, and color are those of the exhibitor.  

4. Painted Design With Stitch Guide

Worked on pre-painted or stamped canvas or on a canvas designed for the exhibitor, accompanied by suggestions for stitches, threads, and/or color choices.

5. Class Project

Worked with person-to-person interaction between the student and instructor, usually in a physical classroom environment.

"NP" after an exhibit number indicates that the stitcher is a "Non-Professional," which is defined as one who engages in needlework as a pastime and for pleasure only.  

"P" after an exhibit number indicates that the stitcher is a "Professional," which is defined as one who engages in needlework as a teacher, artist/designer, lecturer, author, or stitcher for commissioned work and who receives remuneration in any form for said work.

Additional information on the exhibit may be found in the seminar brochure of the ANG bi-monthly magazine, Needle Pointers. All exhibitors must be members of ANG. Information on becoming a member of ANG may be found through the Membership link at the bottom of this page.

Pocket Santa

Stitched by Susan Beekman

Exhibit #328NP  

The high texture created by brushing soft threads is balanced by an appliquéd pocket that holds a separately stitched gingerbread man. Santa's face is given depth of expression through the judicious placement of color values. What a wonderful addition to someone's mantel during the holiday season!

Pocket Santa by Susan Beekman

Tommy's Stocking by Penny M. Boswinkle

Tommy's Stocking

Penny M. Boswinkle

Exhibit #3007P

The high relief formed by the skillful trimming of stitches on Santa's robe is juxtaposed against the sparkle of various-sized beads and metallic ribbon. All of these prove that Christmas stockings have come a long way! Any little boy, or big boy for that matter, would love this stocking!


Amy Bunger

Exhibit #3015P

Baubles, bangles, beads and beautiful stitching! Together they create one elegant lady! The skill of the embroiderer is exhibited in the carefully laid threads in patterns that fashion the background area, and in the selection of stitches and colors that perfectly interpret the mood of the subject.

Ebony by Amy Bunger

Sylvan Lodge by Chi Chen

Sylvan Lodge

Chi Chen

Exhibit #503NP  

This composition shows the establishment of perspective, especially in the cottage and walkway, through well placed values and carefully selected stitches, as well as high texture. Here we see an example of artistically done ribbon embroidery flowers used to enhance the design. Illustrating attention to detail, tiny gold long stem knots can be seen in the centers of some of these flowers.

Wally's Stocking

Lee Courtney

Exhibit #307NP  

Good things most certainly do come in small "packages." Although not large in size for a Christmas stocking, this needlepoint is long on skill in technique, interpretation, and color placement. Perspective and depth are formed by both color and stitch choice. Anyone would appreciate such an innovative stocking, be he outdoorsman or not.  

Wally's Stocking by Lee Courtney

Remembering Freeway by Nancy S. Crawford

Remembering Freeway

Nancy S. Crawford

Exhibit #407NP

You don't have to be a cat lover to fall in love with this wonderful feline. The breeze that gently blows the pulled canvas and needle lace curtains cools this kitten, warmed by the sun as he naps on the window ledge. Brushed stitches imitate the luxurious fur, and wonderfully expressive eyes sparkle with a touch of mischief. A skillful rendering.

(Be sure to see Vicky DeAngelis' Exhibit #403NP)

Bargello Fish

Peter T. Crawford,

Exhibit #5009P

Innovative and imaginative finishing enhances an exceptionally well stitched design. Under a three-dimensional clear dome that mimics the bowl, a bejeweled fish swims over a bargello background. His scales are spangles so skillfully applied that they appear to be diamond-shaped.

Bargello Fish by Peter T. Crawford

Lazy Cat by Vicky De Angelis

Lazy Cat

Vicky DeAngelis

Exhibit #403NP

Another delightful feline, this one created in flat stitches rather than those with high texture and dimension. Extremely well placed colors and values fabricate a sheer curtain fanned by gentle breezes. Or are the curtains being lazily batted back and forth by a delicate paw? The supple body of this kitten is beautifully portrayed with careful color and value arrangement.

(Be sure to see Nancy Crawford's Exhibit #407NP)

African Sunset

Nancy Earel

Exhibit #103NP  

A minimum of stitches enhanced by expertly placed colors and values, augmented by perfectly selected finishing materials. Together these result in a design that is, at the same time, both understated and extraordinary.

African Sunset by Nancy Earel

Tidal Pool by Janet Geebow

Tidal Pool

Janet Geebow

Exhibit #109NP  

An innovative use of fabric manipulation forms a three-dimensional, highly textured and curved bowl. Color interpretation is masterful.  

Navajo Illusion

Leslie Hancock

Exhibit #2004P    

This geometric design is composed of an extensive variety of novelty stitches portrayed through the use of carefully selected and placed colors. Symmetry and balance are complemented by judicious allocation of texture.  

Navajo Illusion by Leslie Hancock

Scarab--An Egyptian Jewelry Piece by Brenda Hart

Scarab--An Egyptian Jewelry Piece

Brenda Hart

Exhibit #1012P

Gold kid, gold bullions, jewel-toned thread and a limited number of stitches convey the mystical qualities of the subject. The dark outline of the shapes adds to the mysterious mood of this exquisitely designed and stitched image.

Alice in Wonderland Chair

Nancy Hellstrom

Exhibit #101 NP

A wonderfully whimsical theme has been portrayed with design skill and technical expertise. This beautiful, full-size chair is almost entirely done in tent stitch with only a few additional stitches used as accent. Although it is basic to canvas work, tent is difficult to do well. The stitcher of this chair has an excellent command of the stitch.

Alice in Wonderland Chair by Nancy Hellstrom

Arbor Way by Dorothy L. Johnson

Arbor Way

Dorothy L. Johnson

Exhibit #1003P

The brilliant command of color knowledge and the ability to apply that awareness is exhibited in "Arbor Way." The ground is linen, which was dyed by the embroiderer. She also used threads that were hand-dyed to accent the colors of the linen. Silk waste, also dyed by the stitcher/designer, is couched to the surface using invisible thread.

Lichen at Sunset

Dorothy L. Johnson

Exhibit #1004P

Another display of superb skill with color and texture. The ground material, linen, is altered by the designer/stitcher with careful dyeing techniques, as are some of the threads. Stitches are limited in variety so as not to distract from the overall effect. The design emerged after a multitude of stitch layers, with various weights of thread, were completed. Some bullion knots were used for accent. 

Lichen at Sunset by Dorothy L. Johnson

Main Street by Karon K. Killian

Main Street

Karon K. Killian

Exhibit #1019P

A delightful needlepoint box, stitched on all sides, has as its focal point a scene adapted from a photograph. Perspective is achieved through the use of stitch proportion and value. This exhibit is an example of innovative finishing.

St. Basil's Cathedral

Carole Lake

Exhibit #2001P

This design shows the effective use of a multiplicity of stitches. Colors selected are compelling and well done. The various structures of the scene are created and enhanced by the employment of the embroiderer's knowledge of the anatomy of a myriad of stitches. Knowing how to do a stitch is good. However, knowing what a stitch can do is even more important.

St. Basil's Cathedral by Carole Lake

Rose Motif by Carole Lake

Rose Motif

Carole Lake

Exhibit #3006P

Reminiscent of a stained glass window, "Rose Motif" exhibits the precise use of technique and appropriate stitch selection. This design demonstrates contemporary stitches and how far needlepoint has evolved from those pieces with pre-worked centers and a background done entirely in half cross-stitch. Each section is outlined with a dark value in the stylistic shading method.

Gracie's Heart

Joyce Marshall

Exhibit #106NP  

This small design exhibits the significance of effective finishing or framing. A beautiful design, well stitched, with a creative selection of stitches. The three-dimensional heart outline created of beads is just one aspect that puts the design in the winning category.

Gracie's Heart by Joyce Marshall

Pieces of Eight by Lee M. McLeron

Pieces of Eight

Lee M. McLeron

Exhibit #2003P

This exhibit, which consists of perfectly worked, multiple-layered stitches in carefully positioned colors, employs the use of positive and negative space as a design element. Such a dynamic and compelling project is a testimony to the skills of both the stitcher and the designer.

Stylized Pomegranate Panels

Lee M. McLeron

Exhibit #5007P 

Background color is so important to the impact of a design. Here we see metallic colors stitched with exquisite skill against a dark background. Placing the four stitched panels in a single frame increases the impact of the grouping.

Stylized Pomegranate Panels by Lee M. McLeron

For Every Time There is a Season by Janet Nobel

For Every Time There is a Season

Janet Nobel

Exhibit #114NP

Beautifully stitched on gray #24 Congress cloth, these four small studies are each only 1" x 1". The embroiderer has achieved a delightful evolution of the seasons in a very small area.

A La Mode

Ro Pace

Exhibit #5001P

A myriad of compound stitches has been worked predominately in metallics with judicious placement of color. The distinction is the splendidly constructed design plus the obvious technical expertise with which the piece has been stitched.  

A La Mode by Ro Pace

Lady With Cranes by Mary Santosstefano

The Bird Lady

Mary Santosstefano

Exhibit #404NP

Wonderful movement is created by the careful selection of stitches, especially for the woman's hair and the birds' feathers. The hair is worked with free stitching, the feathers with a controlled counted stitch. The treatment of the sky is especially interesting.


Joni B. Stevenson

Exhibit #205NP

Start with cream canvas and cream-colored threads. Add an iridescent glitter with a fine, almost imperceptible metallic thread. Enhance these even more by using stitches in a mitering technique. The result is a smashing geometric design.

Fascination by Joni B. Stevenson

Christmas in the City

Christmas in the City

Anne Strapp

Exhibit #5003P

Take an outstanding design, exceptionally well stitched. Add innovative framing and it's easy to understand why this exhibit was an award winner.  

Puzzle Purse

Dorothea Troyer

Exhibit #213NP

Highly textured, superbly stitched in an incredible number of novelty stitches, this evening purse is indicative of contemporary needlepoint.

Puzzle Purse by Dorothea Troyer

Pleasant Point, CA by Susan Webb

Pleasant Point, California

Susan Webb

Exhibit #1013P

Pleasant Point, California, must, indeed, be a beautiful place if it even comes close to this needlepoint rendering. The design is worked with a limited variety of stitches, but spectacular color selection and placement. The "less is more" theory is substantiated when the stitches and colors used are as superbly chosen and executed as they are here.

Silken Wings

Carol Whitton

Exhibit #212NP

Tent stitch is difficult to do well, with consistent and even tension. This lovely porcelain jar sports a top created of tent stitch exquisitely worked on fine silk gauze. The gauze is left exposed in the background area to allow the captivating design to be emphasized even more.

Silken Wings by Carol Whitton

Victorian Ice Skate by Becky L. Worsham

Victorian Ice Skate

Becky L. Worsham

Exhibit #303NP

The cuff of this skate is stitched in strategically placed knots. Their height, along with the three-dimensional lacing, is juxtaposed against the lower textured stitches of the skate body, which gives additional depth to both. The stitcher has done an exceptional interpretation of the composition. A wonderful monochromatic background completes the picture