My publishing adventures began in 2004, when I began writing about and illustrating embroidery projects designed and produced by myself and my school, Filofilò. Writing a manual is never easy; and writing about embroidery, whose details are often unknown even to keen and skilled needlewomen, is a special adventure, if not a risk (not to mention translation into other languages). However, I have had the backing of my experience and my passion, and that of some of my students who have become friends while embroidering together, and who have developed and tested their skills under my guidance and encouragement. The best feedback comes today, many years later, in the form of comments from many embroiderers during Shows, Fairs, Ateliers and Courses: that such-and-such a volume is very useful and user-friendly because it's "well-explained". I have heard this (or read it warmly expressed in emails) from many people, including the French, especially at the Aiguille en Fête event in Paris, where I have been going regularly every February for the past few years: often people who do not know me comment enthusiastically on one or other of my books (which are all published in three languages: Italian, French and English).
For my convenience and to simplify distribution, the first five books are recognisable by a number, which refers uniquely to their print series, so that no. 1 is the first and no. 5 is the fifth. The subsequent manuals also have a number, but implicit, and still referring to the print series. In any case the following descriptions which I have written for each book explain the contents and features, thus facilitating the purchaser in her choice.
In this volume Herbarium, I collected some nonclassical reticello works developed over the last years with my embroidery school Filofilò, starting with ‘Miranda’s sampler’, published at the end of my manual no. 5, Fior di reticello, in 2007.
My basic idea was to ‘abandon the schemes’ and thus create an embroidery that would free the motifs from their rigidity, making them more real, more alive, and even moving.
Retini di fondo (Pulled Thread Work) is useful for learning how to handle the fabric: the threads must pass through warp and weft following well-defined patterns. This is why for beginners I suggest simpler work in "squares"; I then proceed to projects in round or oval areas, and later more complicated shapes. The manual includes diagrams and scans of finished projects and detailed explanations of working techniques.
A fili contati (Counted Thread Work) is done on even weave fabric without a "pattern": the embroiderer counts the number of threads in the design, usually according to a repertoire of antique stitches which have been part of our embroidery tradition for centuries.The manual includes diagrams and scans of finished projects for reference, produced by students at my School, to aid understanding of the suggested themes.
Il Reticello (Reticella 1) is a basic handbook for learning and exploring this technique.
The preparatory work is done by drawing threads from an even weave linen fabric with 15 or 16 threads per cm (but one can also begin with 12-14 threads), to give the "empty" spaces which form the basis for embroidering various motifs, choosing the most appropriate threads for the type of fabric used.
My fourth book is designed to give instructions for a drawn thread sampler which I use in my hemstitch courses: this allows me to demonstrate a process which is fairly simple, but essential for the finishing off of any piece of embroidery (hems and corners). The manual covers various types of drawn thread work, needleweaving and wrapped stitch knotting, with diagrams and scans for reference, accompanied by the "School of Corners" section, a topic not to be underestimated for a successful outcome.
Fior di reticello (Reticella 2), which continues the theme of reticello begun in Volume 3, goes deep into the detail, especially for the new designs and the use of colour in reticello: from just two colours to the wide variety found in the final section of the book. The use of colour was a gamble for me, but since then the consensus has been overwhelmingly positive, at home and abroad.
Punto antico in Veneto was the fruit of a long and laborious gestation, due to the complexity of the research and the difficulty of the execution carried out with the School. Although in the first section of the book I illustrate a piece of embroidery which was highly acclaimed at the first Italia Invita Forum in 2003, but which I had never explained. The volume contains diagrams and instructions for several projects which combine punto antico with reticello.
With Lenzuola, sampler a Punto antico (Sheets, Samplers in Punto Antico), I partially continue the theme of reticello in colour which was discussed in Volume 5, as illustrated by the detailed instructions - with diagrams, scans and photos - for the pink sampler, which abounds in reticello and punto antico elements. Requests from many of my embroidering friends for instructions on embroidering sheets led me to feature in this volume the sheets created by two of my students for the 2009 Italia Invita Forum, which had the theme "the bottom drawer".
Stelle e bordure a reticello (Stars and Borders in Reticello) once again proposes coloured reticello patterns, on a less complex level than the two previous volumes. Here I provide instructions for embroidering a table runner in red on 15-thread raw linen, in which ten "stars" (squares) alternate with the same number of "borders" (rectangles), finished off with two embroidered triangles at either end. The same patterns are reinterpreted in the second section of the book, using different fabrics and threads.