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Guest Blogger – Terri Shinn’s Historical Studies

August 24, 2010

Students at the center very frequently use the material in their sketchbooks to inspire their stitched textiles.  Often, we also look to historical, embroidered textiles for inspiration.  One of our students has used her sketchbook to capture some things she found interesting in historical textile design.  Sketching from historical, artistic objects not only helps you learn to sketch what you see, but will teach you much about how previous artists have interpreted subject matter in their own, unique way.  The creativity comes full circle when these treasures make it from your sketchbook through your creative perspective to your own, original work.


My name is Terri Shinn. I am in Advanced Stitch Level 3. We were asked do a study of European stitch influences on colonial America. The Pennsylvania Germans were my choice as they are part of my heritage.

This picture is of a “mourning picture.” It was done in Lancaster County. The piece was embroidered in silk on silk using flat stitches. I have done the colored pencil drawing as a framing. The intertwined trees were very interesting to me.

Having taken Gail’s Sketchbook and Journaling class this year, really gave me more confidence with my drawing. I can’t believe I am actually saying this but I even enjoyed the process.

This picture is of a pocket book done in 1785. It was embroidered in silk and wool with a satin lining. Once again, I have done a colored pencil drawing of elements from the piece to frame it.

This piece is a townscape done in 1857. It is a wool embroidery on canvas. I loved a tree design found in the bottom right corner. I thought it would be a great graphic design for a simple paper cut-out collage. The background is done in watercolors and the trees are acrylic painted paper.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 26, 2010 5:38 pm

    This is beautiful. I love the framing of the pictures and how you have developed your ideas. I wish I could take Gail’s sketchbook class—I need something like that to help me with mine.

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