submitted by Adele Mandryk
My name is Adele Mandryk and I live in western Canada in the city of Edmonton, Alberta. What a delightful surprise to learn that I had won a copy of Giuliana Ricama. So far, I have read the magazine twice and was thoroughly entertained both times. I particularly enjoyed reading the article on Casalguidi embroidery as I have often wondered what exactly it is that makes this form of whitework, ‘Casalguidi.’ Aside from explaining the history and characteristics of this very old technique, the article illustrated the particular stitches used and then a companion piece showed how various Italian embroidery clubs are modernizing this traditional technique. A bracelet, a purse and a pair of shoes featuring black Casalguidi embellishments on ecru ground fabric were stunning. I was also quite taken by a pair of curtains stitched using coloured threads and the Caterina de’ Medici embroidery technique, a form of counted work on very fine linen fabric that I had not heard of before.
This magazine is translated from Italian to English and poses a bit of a challenge in understanding some embroidery terminology used in project instructions. For instance, in one article, ‘cord’ was used for the more commonly used word ‘thread’ which was a bit confusing until I realized my mental picture was ‘off.’ However, there was a certain amount of satisfaction in ‘googling’ unfamiliar stitch names and finding, in one case, that it was merely the buttonhole stitch ‘dressed up’ as the festoon stitch. I very much enjoyed the gentle mental exercise required and the excellent close-up photography helped. This magazine is more than just a project magazine. It offers historical context and insight into modern-day Italian embroiderers.
In the photo, I am holding my first attempt at counted needlepoint embellished with silk ribbon embroidery. The project, called ‘Fuchsias and Champagne,’ was designed and taught by Merrilyn Heazlewood through the Embroiderers’ Association of Canada/Association Canadienne de Broderie. I plan to finish it as a bell pull and gift it to my Mother on her birthday.
Thank you to EAC/ACB and the publishers of Giuliana Ricama for the opportunity to add a beautiful embroidery magazine to my library that I know I will come back to many times.