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.
1. Creative Needleart
composition created in its entirety by the artist.
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.
Stitched by Susan Beekman
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!
Penny M. Boswinkle
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
An innovative use of fabric manipulation forms a three-dimensional, highly textured and curved bowl. Color interpretation is masterful.
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.
Dorothy L. Johnson
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.
Dorothy L. Johnson
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.
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.
Take an outstanding design, exceptionally well stitched. Add innovative framing and it's easy to understand why this exhibit was an award winner.
Highly textured, superbly stitched in an incredible number of novelty stitches, this evening purse is indicative of contemporary needlepoint.
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.