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Embroidery Around The World And Through The Ages - Articles Surfing
From the earliest times man has appreciated delicate and beautiful things. In fact, it is evidenced that as early as 3000 BC man began to decorate and embellish personal belongings using intricate needlework or embroidery.
While today needlework is usually associated with the fairer of the sexes, needlework and embroidery were originally a man's accomplishment. Many ancient cultures, both Eastern and Western, relegated these tasks to the men folk who had to study under a master as an apprentice for nearly a decade before being considered a master himself.
Interestingly, embroidery evolved in different parts of the world at approximately the same time, but each area developed techniques that were unique to their culture and the materials they had access to.
For example: Western Europe produced an embroidery technique called crewel which is still popular today. This type of embroidery uses two-ply wool stitching on linen twill to produce intricate artwork for bedcovers, wall hangings, chair coverings and draperies.
Egyptians, on the other hand, practiced white embroidery using only white thread on a white canvas. These stitches were so detailed and intricate that few can mimic them today even with the added advantage of new technology and the use of embroidery machines. China perfected the amazing art of two-sided embroidery. Using fine silk, this embroidery is extremely intricate and can take years to complete.
Through the years, talented embroiderers passed on their trade to the next generation, and each generation made the work a little more intricate, a little more detailed, and a little more elaborate.
Take for instance the 'raised' embroidery which evolved in the 16th century. Also called Elizabethan embroidery, this type of embroidery incorporates the use of wool, leather or wood padding to create three-dimensional motifs of butterflies, leaves and other decorative elements.
Today, advanced technology such as computer software and high-tech sewing machines have made it possible for even the most inexperienced novice to create beautiful embroidery.
While this may be the case, there are still those individuals that patiently ply their craft without the aid of modern technology. It is with these long-suffering and talented souls where one can find the true embroidered art of today's age.
The bottom line is that there are just some things that technology cannot produce as elegantly or as accurately as man, and the fine art of hand embroidery is one of them.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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