Friday, October 10, 2008

For My Mom

My mom had told me about the beautiful embroidery work that is available for purchase in Portugal. We started pretty much on the low end of the price scale and worked our way up.....My computer is on the fritz today so I can't post photos of our tablecloths but I do want to post a visit to the Madeira embroidery factory. Madeira embroidery is incredible! I could have spent thousands of dollars......but I wanted to post the photos of the factory for my mom to illustrate this incredible ancient handicraft, which is slowly fading away as the young women are not interested in learning it-they can make more money other ways.

Step 1.

The designer draws a design on tissue paper to prepare for the transfer onto the fabric. This woman was from France. Many of the designs are very old and traditional. Then she takes the tissue paper to a perforating machine and makes the perforations with several layers of tissue paper sandwiched in between.

Step 2.

The pattern is transferred to the linen with blueing sponged over the time of the tissue paper. This method has been used for hundreds of years.Step 3.

The embroiderist (?) picks up the stamped linen, takes it home and completes it. She then brings it back to the factory. They keep careful records because each embroiderist (?) is a subcontractor type and she isn't paid until the item is sold. A tablecloth could take nearly a year to complete! There is a woman sitting in front of every store, embroidering for the tourists.

Step 4.

The completed project is washed. The linens are soaked in tubs with the freshest smelling soap......this tub looks like it has been there since 1865....the woman told us that every home in Portugal has a washtub like this. After soaking, the linens are transferred to a washing machine.

Step 5

While the fabric is still wet, it is stretched tightly between two ladies, then...

Step 6

They iron the damp fabric by hand-

Step 7

No photo! A women cuts all the cut work out. She is fast and skilled with a pair of very sharp scissors. Sorry-no photos!

I wish I had taken pictures of the finished products-duh! I'll post the things we bought later-

as soon as the computer gets un-fritzed.


McEwens said...

Hope the computer gets unfrizzed... LOL great pictures so far! cant wait to see your loot!

Patrice said...

Amazing. I love learning about other cultures. Next time take me along!

Spin said...

great pictures. my bro brought me back a beautiful white linen cloth from his mission. its gorgeous and i love it.

Suzie said...

This evening I caught up on your blog posts and WOW! Best posts I've seen. Your trip was amazing, the landscape of Madeira, the open air markets and HYDRANGEAS! My favorite flower of all time.
Food, people, the embroidery, everything.
Just lovely to get the rundown.
Thanks! Looking forward to more.

Allyson said...

That sounds so cool! Can't wait to see more!