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Speaker Series :: What Antique Samplers Have to Teach Us :: Lianne van Leyen

Needle: first instrument of learning in the hand. Female education: a privilege, not a right and unequal.

Lianne explores the significance of antique samplers in understanding the historical role of women and girls in education. She will share how knowledge and skills were transmitted through needlework in traditional and nontraditional subjects during a time when education was not a right and not universally accessible.

Antique sampler and needlework tools presentation via Zoom discussing the sampler-making tradition demonstrated in the 1897 Schoolhouse Samplers’ 350+ piece collection of antique schoolgirl samplers from 1726 to 1978.

Members, sign in to My EAC/Mon ACB to register for Lianne van Leyen’s engaging presentation on Saturday, January 27, 2024.

  • 4:30 Newfoundland Time
  • 4 pm Atlantic Time
  • 3 pm Eastern Time
  • 2 pm Central Time
  • 1 pm Mountain Time
  • noon Pacific Time

Lianne van Leyen is a domestic interpreter and historic cook at Upper Canada Village.  She prepares and serves meals and desserts using period-correct recipes and methods made in an open hearth or a step wood cook stove. She teaches children and young adults historic cooking and interprets and demonstrates Canada’s history on the eve of Confederation for visitors from around the world.

Lianne’s career has spanned fine arts, child protection, banking, and higher education management. She lives with her husband Grant in a one-room Ontario schoolhouse built in 1897 and owns a church built next door in the 1920s. The couple are also caretakers of three antique British vehicles. She spent years learning to paint, draw and teach herself many crafts, including cross stitch.

Lianne van Leyen is an artist and a storyteller.

Lianne holds incomplete, timeworn, damaged and unusual samplers as precious and deserving of love and attention. She is the caretaker of a growing collection of antique schoolgirl samplers and the designer behind 1897 Schoolhouse Samplers.  Her diverse collection of samplers, currently numbering more than 350 pieces, includes dated examples from 1726 to 1978, made in the UK, U.S.A., Europe and Canada.

Lianne van Leyen shares her sampler collection and the history of needlework with local, national and international needlework and sampler guilds and public museums through in-person and virtual presentations via her website and social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram. She leads retreats and workshops, has had her work published in PieceWork magazine and has contributed to podcasts. Lianne works to increase exposure and interest in historical textiles and needle art within and outside the stitching community.

In 2018, Lianne sought to give a new purpose to her sampler collection and began creating original and reproduction cross-stitch patterns. Through her company, 1897 Schoolhouse Samplers, she shares the stories of overlooked antiques. She makes her cross-stitch patterns available to modern stitchers for retail purchase from local and virtual needlework shops worldwide and to wholesale customers via Hoffman Distributing Company.

Ragamuffin Schoolgirl Sampler Patterns





January 27
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EST
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