Pinning The Past – Faded Beauty


Pinning The Past with Ruth Singer

I bought this framed embroidery a couple of weeks ago. The combination of soft, delicate colours, natural linen fabric and wood frame beguiled me. On closer inspection, the glass was filthy, the embroidery squashed under the glass, the background damaged by a water mark and evidence of wool-eating beasties could be seen. Not ideal!


I took the piece out of the frame and was delighted to find that it hadn’t been glued to a board, as is often the case with old pieces. It was properly stretched and tied with linen thread. Then I discovered its hidden secret – fading! I was astonished to find that the delicate, soft colours were not intentional! The original colours were much louder and verging on the fluorescent in case of the orange. Not my style at all. I much prefer the faded version.

Not only had the thread faded, the linen background had also bleached. The plywood backing has a beautiful pattern left from the embroidery design too!

Faded Embroidery - Ruth Singer - Pinning the Past - 06

I washed the piece carefully in cool water – luckily the colours were water fast, even if not light fast. This has fluffed up the squashed embroidery too, and a light steam has left it looking great. I need to repair a few places where moth damage has cut through the wool threads.

I actually prefer the piece unframed, so you can see the darker linen edges which provide a framing effect and the rusty nail marks from the framing.

Faded Embroidery - Ruth Singer - Pinning the Past - 09

If you want an embroidery to last a long time on display, get it framed with acid-free board and keep it out of direct sunlight.

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Ruth Singer Books – Get yours from our Amazon store!

Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques by Ruth Singer
Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques

Sew Eco: Sewing Sustainable and Re-Used Materials by Ruth Singer
Sew Eco: Sewing Sustainable and Re-Used Materials

Sew It Up: A Modern Manual of Practical and Decorative Sewing by Ruth Singer
Sew It Up: A Modern Manual of Practical and Decorative Sewing


Ruth Singer
Ruth Singer creates detailed and intriguing textile artworks inspired by historical textiles, museum objects, personal heritage, memory and stories. She uses natural and recycled textiles combined with hand stitching as well as fabric manipulation techniques to create detailed surface texture. She also writes books on textiles and sewing and teaches in her own studio as well as freelance.
Ruth Singer

@ruthsinger

Artist, maker, researcher, creative projects, consultancy, mentoring. #acesupported Projects: @mcfarlandsinger @criminalquilts @interlacecollab
RT @hauntedohiobook: #TheVictorianBookoftheDead Mourning bonnets, reticule and mourning cap. Late 19th or early 20th c. https://t.co/aSI70… - 1 month ago
Ruth Singer
Ruth Singer
Ruth Singer

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