Texts and Flowers
Marking linen with initials has a long embroidery tradition. In order to practice, girls used to stitch a sampler with different sizes of alphabets. In contemporary art (graffiti and more), texts still play an important role. In this workshop we will practice letters and texts in different techniques (traditional and free style hand stitch) resulting in a contemporary sampler. In order to cheer up the sampler we will add some free style flowers in different embroidery techniques (mostly couching and appliqué). We start with making a plan for this text sampler. Tilleke will demonstrate her favorite embroidery technique (couching) and show the different ways you can use it. We will also practice counted thread stitches (cross stitch). Tilleke will bring some traditional patterns for lettering. To this design we will add some flowers. This can be done completely in hand stitch but appliqué gives great results too and is much faster. The workshop will be illustrated with small lectures. The workshop will have an emphasis on hand embroidery, but it is perfectly all right to incorporate any other (textile) technique, or use the sewing machine. During the workshop we may do some exercises in mixed media on paper as this technique is so much faster.
Tilleke Schwarz (1946) was born in the Netherlands as the daughter of a Jewish cattle dealer. Her background is characterized by a blend of assimilation and interest in Jewish culture and tradition. The Second World War still has a remote influence. Her love of textiles was passed on by her mother, whose family ran a clothing firm. Her mother taught her the basics of embroidery. She was an inspiring role model, covering numerous table cloths and pillow cases with stitched flower patterns, even at an old age.
Tilleke has lived for more than 30 years in a small town near Delft with her husband and a cat. She has a small studio at home and a large studio nearby (suitable for drawing, painting and storage).
Tilleke attended two art colleges in the Netherlands, focusing mainly on painting and drawing. She loves textiles because of their tactile qualities. Textiles generally have a more intimate relationship with the viewer and are very suitable to communicate emotions. Tilleke speaks English with a Dutch and American accent, due to a one year stay in California as an exchange student.
Her professional career started in 1990. Her main activities are: exhibiting all over the world, lecturing and teaching, writing about textile art and other art related activities. Tilleke’s work has been published internationally in many books, catalogues and art and textile magazines.
My work can be understood as a kind of visual poetry. It is a mixture of contemporary influences, graffiti, icons, texts, and images from traditional samplers. The work contains narrative elements, not really complete stories, with a beginning, a storyline, and an end. On the contrary, the narrative structures are used as a form of communication with the viewer. The viewer is invited to decipher connections or to create them.
The humor in my work is typical for my Jewish background: a mixture of a laugh and a tear. Folk art and daily life are great sources for inspiration.
I love textiles because of its tactile looks. Textile generally has a more intimate relationship with the public and is very suitable to communicate emotions.
My work can be understood as “Maps of modern life”. A multitude of thoughts are expressed that relate to one another on several levels. It reflects our modern life as we are confronted with an abundance of images and information. In dealing with all this information we cannot always understand and be conscious of everything we experience. But I hope that the poetry will communicate even before it is understood (free interpretation of T.S. Eliot).