HNW - Stumpwork

Carolyn Kayta Barrows kayta at
Mon Sep 28 15:05:44 PDT 1998

fiondel at writes, in a message sent 09:04 AM 9/28/98 -0500:
>>Looking at the two books I mentioned before, this technique would work 
>>for caskets or padded boxes. Both were favorites for stumpwork.
>Bunny, are either of those medieval?  The only illustrations I've
>been able to find of boxes/frames (that kind of thing) are from
>the 1700's.  If I *could* use this kind of stitchery for boxes,
>that would be GREAT.

The boxes I find pictures of are early 1600's, making them Jacobean, which
some people do under the SCA umbrella.  Some may be very VERY late 1600s,
making them Elizabethan, if barely, and certainly just SCA period.  

Medieval examples, as in 1400's, would probably be altar frontals or church
vestments.  I have seen the ocassional picture of this kind of work in this
period.  So we know somebody then had the technique and was wiling to put
in the time doing church work with it.

>>You've never heard of the perfectly period technique of "decommissioning"
>>church pieces and using them for secular purposes?  Very popular among
>>Vikings and Tudor English...
>Appropos of this, I'd like to ask an opinion from all of you. The 
>original purpose of all this research was to find something different
>and unusual to do for the auction my Barony has every Winter Court.
>(We have an auction to help pay for the winter fighter practice
>site, and always wind up making more than we need, which is nice)
>As I mentioned before, one of the pieces I found was a Nativity
>scene.  Since this will be auctioned at Winter Court (being held
>on 12/19) it would be appropriate for the "season," but I hesitate,
>for two reasons.  First, there is the SCA policy about religion.
>Yes, I know this only refers to things like espousing religions
>or requiring some kind of religious practice, but still, I hesitate.
>_Some_ SCA people can be awfully prickly about that sort of thing.
>Second, I know there are a goodly number of SCA folk who are not
>Christian.  I'd be offering the piece in the spirit of an artwork,
>but would really like to avoid offending anyone.
>What do you all think?  I would turn out lovely (if I have *my*
>way <g>), but would it be all right?

I would count this in the same category as the wearing of religious symbols
with garb, or of having a nun/monk/priest persona (which I have seen done).

On the one hand, some people will be offended no matter what you do.  There
are some Pagans and some Christians who are offended by any show of
religious symbols not their own, tho the practice is not limited to
practicioners of these religions.  But by mundane law, which superceeds SCA
law, the right of freedom of religion is guaranteed in America.  

On the other hand, having a religion is 'period', as in, people had them
back then.  Some forms of Christianity are even 'period' (and some are
not).  Also, it is 'period' to be selling "decommissioned" church works.
"Elizabethan Embroidery", by George Wingfield Digby, 1963 (no ISBN),
mentions this practice, and shows pictures of parts of the pieces as they
were reused by Elizabethans.  (Second-hand clothing dealers are also

This useage might answer you first question.  You could make what measured
like a fragment of a piece in an earlier style, then use the 'fragment' in
the manner of a later style, like to cover a box.  A late-Elizabethan
Anglican might feel perfectly justified in doing this to a 'Papist' piece.
A 15th century Burgundian Catholic might not feel the same way, unless the
piece was of Moslem or Jewish origin.  (Moslem-made textiles, even with
prayers to Allah in Arabic on them, were used by Europeans for a long time,
probably until European textile technology caught up with that of the

>Go to to perform mailing list tasks.

   ((((   7 (((
     |   -- ))))
     * )   (((((
  /----\   /---\

Go to to perform mailing list tasks.

More information about the H-needlework mailing list