[HNW] Re: History of Hardanger

Sarah Randles s-randles at adfa.edu.au
Mon Jan 21 19:49:53 PST 2002

Chris said:

>It seems to me that these are the things that make Hardanger a
>specific style, and this identifiable style is what needlework
>researchers can't seem to find (as far as I know) before sometime in
>the 17th century.
>But I don't think you can really say that you have documented
>Hardanger embroidery to before 1600 if you can _only_ document the
>individual components, and _not_ the combination or the distinctive
>I'm mentioning this because we recently had this discussion in the
>West Kingdom Needleworkers Guild (SCA) and decided to drop Hardanger
>from our Guild's list of pre-1600 styles.

I haven't really been following this thread, but I'd like to agree with
Chris on this one - I removed hardanger from the list of styles for the
Lochac Worshipful Company of Broderers (WCOB) (our equivalent of the
Needleworkers' Guild) for exactly the same reasons.

This highlights the issue of the difference between style and technique, an
important one for embroidery researchers to understand.  Most, if not all
of the *techniques* of hardanger embroidery can be found in European
embroidery before 1600, but the *style* is something quite different, and
to the extent of my research, it cannot.  Style is not just how you do
something, but how you put it together.  Style encompasses such aspects as
colour, scale, materials and, of course, techniques.  It's much harder to
get across than technique, but if you're interested in creating period
style embroideries, it's at least as important.

The WCOB lists of styles and techniques rely on the members to do the work
- our charter states (I'm paraphrasing, I don't have it here) that members
can submit their research on any style or technique to the masters of the
guild in an attempt to have that style or technique included on the list.
So far, no-one has presented us with convincing evidence for pre-1600

Having said that, I have seen a couple of examples of cut work on 16th c.
collars which do look rather like Hardanger, but they're not clear enough
for me to want to use them as irrefutable evidence.

Sarah Randles
s.randles at adfa.edu.au

Australian National Dictionary Centre
Australian National University
ACT 0200
Phone: (02) 6125 0476 Fax: (02) 6125 0475
(On Thursdays and Fridays, I am at the School of English, ADFA on Ph: (02)
6268 8842, same e-mail address.)

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