HNW - HNW- Hardanger and Ukrainian Whitework

Mike Newell 72123.411 at compuserve.com
Tue Oct 7 12:24:42 PDT 1997


Dear Eowyn-

I don't  know if this parallels what you want to know but I'll try.

I've been curious for years about whether Hardanger work is period for SCA.
I have tried looking at what few modern books were done on Scandinavian
needlework and have been frustrated. Most such books start at the 18th
century. I did finally find one author who actually put a date on it -- 
Mary Gostelow makes the claim that Hardanger work was developed (invented?)
in a particular region in Norway in the late 18th century. Most of the
other books used  catch phrases like "ancient work" or "far in the past"
and other such.  When I did find books that showed photos of hardanger work
from the 19th century it was clear that the pieces were worked more simply
than today's designs. I admit I was seeing black and white photos but they
all showed a simpler, toned down version of design. All monochrome, by the
way (some modern hardanger uses a range of colors).

I've heard some SCA folk justify hardanger as cutwork, so it's period.
Wellll-- not quite. Cutwork is an old technique, heaven knows, but if it's
deliberately done on hardanger fabric, with pattern and technique developed
in late 18th century Norway, then it really isn't period. I don't know if
the geometric kloster block technique was used on period cutwork.

Can anyone tell me why books on Scandinavian needlework repeatedly fail to
show early extant needlework? I teach needlework and garb to people, and
act as a resource. If I could have a dime for every lady who wishes to know
what kind of needlework would be appropriate to her Norse persona......
(tablet weaving doesn't seem to interest any of them). I desperately wish I
could point them to more available books.Short of having them travel to
Scandinavia, and pick up every native booklet they can, what can we all do?

I have seen that lovely book Small Churl is carrying. It is a really nice
find, although pricey.

- --Kathryn
SCA: Kathryn Goodwyn
"too many centuries, ...too little time"
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