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Old Embroideries

When a call of entry for old embroideries went out from Galleri Frøya earlier this year, the good ladies of Kalvåg and Bremanger went to their cupboards and chest of drawers and dug, – very deep, it seems.

The things they dug out, – some of them very old, were then carefully cleaned, if possible, – then starched and ironed before being hung or laid out in the gallery in the centre of Kalvåg.

The theme of the exhibition is: “Embroideries for everyday use”.

Judging from the items on display, – and also from experience, – the kitchen would be the room in the house that was used the most, – every day.

“Coffee is served”, it says on this tablecloth, which would typically be part of a set which would also have one or two pieces for the counter tops, and probably a so called decorative towel.

These embroidered “towels” were purely decorative and hung on the wall in the kitchen, – sometimes in front of the pegs where the “real” towels were, to keep them out of sight.

There was a broad selection of these decorative towels. They were also used in bedrooms, to cover the towels by the wash stand.

Many were in good shape, – but not accompanied by their counterpart tablecloths or runners, indicating that maybe the latter got more heavy use and were worn out long before these purely decorative items.

This flower embroidery brought back memories, – we had table cloths like this when I grew up, and they were my favourites.

Some of the pieces were very colourful,  and telling of everyday life.

Many had sayings or blessings embroidered on them.

The fringe on the one above is done in macrame, and was taught to the maker by an older lady who called it Lover’s knot.

Some of the motifs are known across the world. You have probably already recognized Little Red Riding Hood.

Another piece that brought on nostalgia. My mother had made a set that adorned our kitchen when we grew up, – it was done in this pattern, and in the exact same colours.

There were embroideries in many styles……

…. and not surprisingly, also in Hardanger.

Even the most beautifully worked pieces had some telltale signs of use and wear.

There were a few examples of these lovely, nostalgic country scenes.

Redwork and bluework seemed to be popular, and they often came with sayings or poems on them. The text here says: Kari makes sour cream porridge, we sweeten it with sugar. (It rhymes in Norwegian)

Usually these things would be made from ready bought or shared patterns. This one however, has been designed by the maker herself, and shows a fisherman returning home after a long trip at sea, – which happens all the time around here. The text says: Welcome home.

This one is a beauty, and has been well used. Note the mended tear…..

… and not least the impressive monogram.

I could go on and on, but then this post would be too heavy to download. I’ll give in to the temptation of throwing in some more whitework, though:

… and a blessing before you go:

The exhibition will hang till the end of this month, – March 2012.

🙂 Eldrid


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