Monday, April 8, 2013

Textile Museum

Jubilee House in Dorp Street, Stellenbosch houses a collection of beautiful embroidery and lace. The building, originally the annex of a hotel next door, is now a National Monument and the headquarters of the Cape Women's Agricultural Association. If you are particularly interested in whitework or know of Hetsie van Wyk's rich and beautifully executed embroidery and would like to see some of it, then this is a little treasure of a museum to visit when you are in or around Cape Town.

The museum is open Monday to Friday 9-12am, with a small entry fee. It has few visitors so if you find the doors locked, like Gill and I did this morning, just knock or ring and the secretary will open up for you.

On the way upstairs a stop in at the committee room revealed a tablecloth made of 18 separate embroidered squares, joined with lace insets, and each one a different design and technique. The photos are unclear but they do give some idea of the amount of work in the cloth.

Then we noticed a Hardanger cloth in use on a trolley with large (did I say large?) openwork areas. The beauty lay in the evenness of the tension.

One room is dedicated to embroidery with 30 examples of Hetsie van Wyk's work in the glass cabinets. This was what I had come to see. You should have seen Gill and I on our hands and knees examining some of those treasures on the bottom shelf!

 I just loved these two christening gowns.

The christening gown on the left is Carrickmacross, the technique similar to the embroidered lace on Kate Middleton's wedding dress when she married Prince William. And the one on the right is delicate shadow work. The lace was also made by Hetsie, some of which is hidden underneath on the petticoats! Here is a closer look at the Carickmacross gown:

Carrickmacross embroidery detail - the flowers are appliqued and then fine patterns are darned into the net. The picots on the edge are known as 'twirls' and the eyelets are 'pops'
This is the shadow work gown with a glimpse of the lace on the petticoat showing through the fine fabric:

This post is growing rather long. I'll put up more photos in the next one. Till then, happy stitching!

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