Spot samplers first came into vogue in the early 1600’s and were used as aide memoires for a variety of embroidery motifs and patterns which could later be reproduced to embellish clothing and household linen. The designs were taken from the newly emerging printed pattern books or copied from woodcuts used to illustrate popular herbals and natural history books of that period.
Spotte samplers were charmingly naive due to frequent discrepancies of scale (a borage flower larger than an unicorn or a doe smaller than a giant peapod), as well as their total lack of formal composition. They could also be quite gaudy affairs when worked on satin material using bright silks, metallic threads, seed pearls, coral beads and spangles.
The selected design was first traced on to paper. It’s outline was then very carefully perforated with a needle, laid on top of the chosen fabric and rubbed with charcoal (on light material) or pounce (cuttle fish bone for darker fabrics) thus transferring the outline via the tiny holes. All that remained was to join up the dots into solid lines which could often still be seen “framing” the motifs even when the work had been completed. To recreate this effect all the motifs in Sonne Spotte are outlined in black.
- Area in stitches: 315 x 312