Armed with thread and needle, and with an eye for detail, Barbara Ing has been creating beautiful works of embroidery most of her life.
Many in the Surface Creek area have enjoyed the results of her hard work when they are on display at Pioneer Town in Cedaredge.
Her story can be told in photos of the beautiful work she does. Above, Barbara’s work is shown in diverse example. The patchwork vest dominating the display began as part of a uniform. As a member of a seminar committee, everyone chose to make and wear patchwork vests using jewel-tone colors. “I went a bit overboard with the decorations, outlining each small piece with intricate embroidery stitches, buttons from my mother’s button box, pins from her jewelry box, beads and other embellishments. “It was great fun and I didn’t know when to stop! I learned some new stitches and combinations of stitches.”
To the right is a beautiful box, which Barbara has named Repunzell’s Repose. It is a box made of silk fibers made into paper. The paper is made into a box with stump work (dimensional embroidery). Cording and French knots add decoration to the panels while golden braids flow from the top.
A group lesson turned into the colorful patchwork on the black handbag. “I turned it into a unique removable ﬂap for the bag. Attached with Velcro, it can easily be removed and exchanged for the gold embroidered ﬂap nearby. I plan to make several more.”
The balls represent Temari, dating back many years when Japanese women used their silk scraps to make balls for their children. Temari has taken on an art form with intricate geometric designs stitched on cloth balls, then used for display.
The framed leaf design showcases a variety of buttonhole stitches, bead and cutwork on 18-count canvas, while the lid of the black box has an inset made of canvas covered with metallic threads; the larger inner square is completed with Amadeus long stitches. The smaller square is worked with ribbon-like metalic thread that has been couched (thread holding ribbon in place). The metallic threads are not true metallic, rather a synthetic polymer coating a cotton core. It’s less expensive and doesn’t tarnish so polishing is not needed.
Through these and other examples, Barbara demonstrates why embroidery is considered an art form using a variety of threads, a needle and different types of stitches to achieve texture, embellishment and ornamental interest on fabric.
The photo in the lower right shows a variety of antique needlework — some made by Barbara’s mother and others purchased at antique shops. Displayed clockwise, beginning at the top, is a runner, origin unknown, done on coarse linen with striped design of red poppies worked in silk threads. The open work is drawn threads with designs woven over it.
Next, the green piece is worked in Italian negative cross stitch (back ground worked leaving the design unworked).
The large square embroidered bed pillow cover (early 1900s) is one of a pair. Called “aredwork,” it became popular when a red dye was developed that wouldn’t fade or run. The stitched message on one reads, “I slept and dreamed life was beauty.” The other, “I woke and found life was duty.”
The blue towel has brown huck-weaving on the border. The technique is still in use today. The fabric is woven with a loose thread on top that is caught with the needle with weaving on the top side. Stitches do not show on the back. Today, the same process is used with yarn on fabric with a larger count weave to make afghans.
The next towel was probably used more for show or company than for daily use. Named drawn work, the horizontal (woof) threads were withdrawn completely and the vertical (warp) threads hand woven for a border design.
Next, Italian drawn work is ﬁrst stitched around the area where threads are to be pulled. Remaining threads are woven over/under then daisies woven over the threads. The center has added embroidery stitches.
Cutwork on the ecru linen piece worked with linen thread of the same color began as a design stamped piece purchased at a “dime store” in the 1930s. This piece is long and narrow and was used as a dresser scarf with a hand crocheted edging.
The piece in the middle is also a hand towel. This design is woven from front to back. The design appears in reverse on the back side.
Barbara is a wealth of knowledge about the art of embroidery. She documents each of her projects noting where, why and when the piece was done, and then attaches the document to the back of the ﬁnished piece. She displayed many examples of early needlework at the Stolte Shed during Heritage Day at Pioneer Town early last month.
Barbara is a member and Regional Director of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Inc (EGA), a non-proﬁt National organization with approximately 12,000 members. The organization is divided into regions and chapters. EGA offers education and strives to preserve the heritage and art of embroidery. There are 23 chapters in the Rocky Mountain region. Information is on the website at egausa.org.
Guild members are often asked to display their work or demonstrate embroidery techniques. They have shown their own pieces at public places, including the shopping mall, city hall and the library in Grand Junction. Guild members are willing to exhibit at other sites.
On the Western Slope there are several groups meeting regularly. Organized under the Desert West Chaper (according to the EGA website), the Delta/Montrose group meets at members’ homes on the first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. Two groups meet in Grand Junction, one on the first Tuesday in the morning and the other on the second Wednesday of the month in the evening. A group also meets in Glenwood Springs on the second Monday of the month in the morning.
Membership is open to anyone interested in needlework. Contact Barbara Ing at 856-7326 for more information.
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