Sprichwörter Collection I

Sprichwörter Collection I

When I first started Vicki Malone, I knew that using antique and vintage textiles for the basis of my garments was special and that each tablecloth or cushion cover have a story behind them, especially those that are embroidered. It wasn't til I met Barbara that I came to realise the connections we can make with these today and not just with the past. 

Barbara had previously made collections like me from embroidered cushions that conveyed messages or proverbs - Sprichwörter in German - often with stitched illustrations. When we met in 2021, it was a meeting of like-minded souls, keen to share the work of those from the past and continue them into the future. We both believe in sustainability, handmade items and creating what we love. Barbara opened my eyes to these Sprichwörter textiles and I was eager to find more about the history of them.

I began to research the history and it seems they had their hey-day between 1870-1930, often being the work of young girls and women to brighten up the home. Initially the words were in stitched along the hem of the textile, then later also around the border. The textiles used were linen or cotton, stitched with a variety of stitches from cross stitch to step stitch. Red thread was the most common with blue and sometimes yellow appearing later as the needlework craft became more popular. 

The embroidered sayings were as much a commentary of the life of the embroiderer (women) as they were a decorative artwork. They reinforced the roles of women, especially the image of the housewife, and took elements from different eras and social classes as well as cultural trends at the time. Needlework at its peak saw patterns published and thread and fabrics available for the sole purpose of creating these embroidered artworks, with even wool and silk varieties for the more illustrious households. 

It was after the second world war that the decline in such work began, illustrated sayings continuing only on decorative cushions (such as those used in my first collection). Although some view these works as collectors items, there are also those that criticise them. Debating that needlework was a way of becoming aware of unhappiness in relationships, saying that it was also not so desirable to cover everything in the home with slogans. 

Regardless of whether you would sew or not, or whether you have slogans on your walls at home it can be said that the work involved in creating these pieces are what should be treasured and perhaps respected. For me this means using them to create something new, something that we can relate to in this time. 

As you can imagine they are fun to work with and the first edit of the collection was made exclusively for a pop-up here in Berlin. 

To view the collection head to Herzsprung in Hackenschen Höfe, Hof III

Rosenthaler Str. 40, 10178 Berlin

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