My customers were asking for a more universal gift option for the book lovers in their lives. That is how the idea to create a collection of hand embroidered bookmarks was born. A delightful silk embroidered bookmark is a thoughtful and unique gift for the person in your life who lives in the world of books. For a passionate collector, avid reader or enjoyer of all things beautiful! It will make her or him smile every time a book is opened. As my hand embroidered bookbindings, these bookmarks are embroidered by hand only, one little stitch at a time. I use pure silk threads; they provide a subtle sheen and quiet luxury to the embroidery. The embroidered fabric is then hand stitched with tiny overcast stitches to a satin ribbon. This design was inspired by early 19th century bookmarks, which were made of paper and attached to a silk ribbon. This collection of bookmarks is called “Century of Flowers”. It features slightly abstract flowers and leaves, I currently really enjoy creating these types of designs. I hope that these little bookmarks will provide many warm moments of joy to you.
These bookmarks are available in my Amazon.com shop. To go there, please press here or the big green button "Bookmark Shop" on the top right corner of this page.
My first bookmark collection "Century of Flowers" is now available on Amazon.com.
To go to the shop, please press here, or the green “Bookmark Shop” button, or type www.amazon.com/shop/embroideryisvital in your Internet browser.
This is one of the most expensive books in the world, and it is available to buy: „History of the Expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the Sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains and Down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. Performed During the Years 1804-5-6.”
It is a narrative of the famous American land expedition. 1,417 copies were printed in 1814. Approximately 23 copies remain extant with very few in private hands. The journals originally were paperbound, with the plain cardboard front cover.
The price: 350 000 USD. It can be bought at Powell’s City of Books, the largest used and new bookstore in the world, occupying an entire city block and housing approximately one million books, located in Portland, USA
You can read more about this gem here and here.
I am working on a new project. It still has to do with books, although this time it is not a book cover.
This hand embroidered binding was commissioned for a very unusual bible. This is a Viking Studio edition of the breathtakingly beautiful Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, originally published in a limited letterpress edition by Pennyroyal Caxton Press, Inc. in 1999. The book was designed and illustrated by renowned Barry Moser, and the main feature is his poignant illustrations. The best word I could think of to describe his engravings is sombre. Thoughtful and sorrowful. They are monochrome and ascetic, with no sign of the usual exaggeration or exaltation. It was a challenge to design a cover that would complement and be respectful towards the illustrations without fruitlessly even attempting to copy the brilliant work of the master.
I based the design on a simple cross, and softened it with damask motifs. I used only two hand embroidery stitches: queen stitch (tiny diamonds forming the cross) and turkey stitch (fluffy damask motifs), and only two types of natural thread: cotton and wool. The embroidered cross hugs the edges of the front cover, and the embroidery flows over the spine to the back cover. I used only one strand of thread to do all the embroidery. As a result the needle has been guided back and forth through the fabric more than two hundred fifty times per every square centimeter.
The book was expertly re-bound by book restorer Dace Zalite.
Pure linen fabric, cotton and wool threads, size of the book: 31 x 20.5 x 5.5 cm (8.1 x 12.2 x 2.2 in).
Here you can read more about the unique Caxton Bible, about Viking Studio, and about Barry Moser.
Recognized as one of the most important Asian works of art to ever come to market, this Imperial silk thangka measures over 3m x 2m and it has survived in impeccable condition. Exquisitely embroidered in gold and brilliantly coloured silk threads, it depicts the majestic Raktayamari, the red Conqueror of Death, embracing his consort, Vajravetali. Created during the Ming dynasty Yongle period (1402–1424). It was sold by Christie's in 2014 to Mr. Liu Yiqian, a Chinese collector, for his Long Museum in Shanghai. It was a world auction record for any Chinese works of art sold.
Image and information from www.christies.com
I decided to take a small brake from the large embroidered bookbinding project to embroider something for the Easter, and decided on this canvaswork egg. The design is from a very talented canvaswork designer Laura Perin. I used 100% linen threads in natural colors: honey, beige, mossy green, sunshine yellow, brown. The white thread which forms the squares at the bottom half of the egg and the inside portion of the frame is a common household linen thread! It varies greatly in thickness, and appears impossible to use in embroidery. But for this project it works perfectly, and I had such fun using it!
I am continuing to embroider the cover, which will later become a part of the binding for a bible. The fluffy part in the foreground is turkey stitch. It looks fuzzy, disheveled and rather mad at the moment, but it will undergo a magic transformation and look very different when finished.
I am currently embroidering a cover for a very unusual edition of Bible. In an earlier post I showed you the first outlines of the cover. The work has progressed a lot, and here you can see the queen stitch portion of it. It is my absolutely favorite counted stitch! Despite being very angular and precise, it lends itself beautifully to hugging round shapes and lines.
Emotions overcome me when I see pictures of the Klementinum, a historic building complex in Prague, which houses National Library of the Czech Republic. Let us go visit it this year!
There is more information on the Library’s website here.
These are Madeira wool/acrylic embroidery threads. My dad made special little shelves, they are so perfect for neat storage of the bobbins!
I made the embroidered tangerine quite some time ago, but it still makes me smile. Tangerines mean New Year! Why? Only us, those over 40 who grew up in Soviet Union will understand. The second picture (photo from tula.air.ru) is a still from an iconic 1975 film “The Irony of Fate or Enjoy the Steam!” Can you count how many stereotypical and still beloved dishes are on that festive table? Happy Happy New Year!
In cinemas all over the world the latest Star Wars movie has opened. The British Library is joining the fun with a very amusing and thought provoking article about familiar looking creatures in medieval manuscripts. You can see more pictures here.
It is dark outside even in the middle of the day. Trees are lamenting in the wind, and rain is flogging our windows. Here is a perfect book to read on such a day: „Crewel World. Needlecraft Mystery” by Monica Ferris. Is embroiderer the murderer or the victim? I will let you know.
To all my creative friends, crafters and artists. To all of us who know that creativity and fear are inseparable, that it is impossible to step into creative endeavor without having to encounter fear. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love” in her new book “Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear” tells how she had to sit down and convince herself to write knowing very well that whatever she writes will never be as successful as “Eat, Pray, Love” and that her talent will be questioned. She still did it. Love her, love this book.
New book cover has begun. Tacked lines mark edges of the covers and spine. They also show the center lines of the embroidered part of the covers. It helps with the correct placement of the embroidery design.
I love this story! It came from Uppsala University Library, and it tells about restoration of a book that had been mended using embroidery. Unfortunately I could not find information about this book on University's home page any more. It was told by library's conservator Augusta Strand. If you happen to know where to find the original publication, please, kindly let me know.The manuscript dates from the 14th century and it belonged to the monastic library at Vadstena Convent after its purchase in Konstanz in 1417. The pages of the book are made of parchment and they show typical damage in the form of holes and tears that happened while the parchment was being made. Some time after the book was copied, the holes and tears have been mended artistically with silk of various colors, mainly in blanket stitch.
This book was on display in the exhibition "A book harvest from the vineyard" at Uppsala University Library, May 9, 2003 - April 8, 2004.
I have received a very beautiful present. A book „Publishing and Book Design in Latvia 1919-1940: a Re-discovery”. The American book specialist and historian of publishing, James Howard Fraser has written a book about design and publishing in Latvia. Sadly, this was his last work. It is the most comprehensive overview of the activities of Latvian, Russian, Jewish and German publishers in Latvia in the interwar period. It shows and explains how cover, endpaper and layout of the books reflected the trends in European book design of that period.
The very charming Queen Street in Toronto houses this little pearl – Mokuba shop. Shelves after shelves, rolls after rolls of the famous Mokuba ribbons! From 2mm delicate silk ribbons to 20cm impressive fur ribbons. My embroiderer’s heart was singing and credit card crying! It took a lot of willpower not to grab one of everything!
What a wonderful morning! I spent it in the most inspiring company of some amazingly talented and smart ladies. The dungeons... (ok, the ground floor) of the Academic Library of the University Of Latvia where the magic happens. Where talented and smart book restorers of Department of Technical Services give back life to old and antique books... the papers, the leather, the presses, the glues and the ribbons... Book lover’s paradise and a temple to Patience. In the photo you can see a restorer painstakingly slowly removing remains of glue from every page of an old book. From EVERY single page!
For quite some time I have had an idea to try Bargello embroidery for a book cover. You know those beautiful marbled papers that bookbinders use for endsheets? The psychedelic and wavy patterns of Bargello embroidery look like a soft and warm version of the fascinating paint ripples on the bookbinding paper. So, why not try that for the outside covers of the book? Here is the beginning of a new book cover, which will be partly embroidered using a Bargello pattern in red and yellow wool, with some teal accents.
The design for a new book cover is done. Now to my least favorite part - transferring the design onto fabric. Then the embroidery itself – pure joy!