Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More CREATIVITY from The Reynolds Family

A few years ago when my book Kids Embroidery came out, I did a class and booksigning at The Blue Bunny in Dedham, MA. (The illustration here is one I did for the book and it is shows children from around the world in embroidered costumes.) Owned by the Reynolds' family, the store is all about creativity and learning for children of all ages. The kids who attended made a little bookmark and learned quite a few stitches. It was a fun afternoon.

When I go to present these events, I usually learn more than I teach. I was fortunate to spend some time talking with Janet Reynolds and she shared with me her family's needlework traditions. The timing was perfect - it was just before the photography for Colorful Stitchery.

She told me about her favorite aunt who lived in New York City. The aunt, who was quite prim and proper, had a special tablecloth which she used for every dinner party she hosted. The color was a lovely shade of silver grey. Before each guest left the table, she asked them to sign their name on the cloth with her special graphite pencil. After the dinner party, she stitched over the signature in a matching silver grey floss to help her remember her friend and the meal she shared.

When Janet and Paul began throwing their own dinner parties, Janet carried on with her aunt's tradition. She purchased an off-white cloth and started building her own dinner cloth memories. I boldly asked her if I could share her idea in my book. She volunteered her cloth for photography. How very exciting for me to be able to share their special tradition with my readers! Here's a shot from far away.

As you can imagine, Janet and her husband Paul have many friends who are illustrators and artists including Paul's twin brother Peter. What you can't see from this photo is that lots of the signatures have little quirky illustrations next to their names. Janet stitched the names in many different bright colors and it is so lovely. She says the only downfall is she can't wash the cloth until the signature has been stitched! Janet stitched the signatures in the simple outline stitch which works nicely for swirly cursive lettering.

Thanks so much to Janet for sharing this project with me. It was so nice to see her again last week at their store The Blue Bunny in Dedham, Massachusetts.

p.s. If you live with young authors and illustrators, be sure to check out this link to The Hutch, the Reynolds' new literary and art magazine for children. They are accepting submissions now!


Kathleen C. said...

A student of mine's grandmother does the same thing! I was kindly invited to Thanksgiving at their home two years in a row, and I was honored to be a tablecloth signee.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tradition.

With my daughter, I'll have her do embroidery with felt as the background and all 6 strands of floss. It looks great as it really stands out. Sometimes I'll cut out felt hearts or other shapes for her to tack down. Pony beads and fun buttons are another thing I have her work on.

Donna said...

Thanks for sharing the wonderful idea of your friend. I will pass it onto my daughters for when they have their own dinner parties.

Francie said...

we've been talking about doing the tablecloth thing for a couple years now. don't know where i heard about it but this is probably the impetus i need to actually do it. i love the picture of it.

and my fifth grader was just asking me a few days ago if i knew where he could submit some stories for publication. what amazing timing! thank you so very much :)

ramakrishna said...

I found your blog through Google alert. My daughter is big fan of Embroidery, knitting and crafts works. Great blog with useful information. Thanks for sharing useful information.

Beth said...

What a wonderful idea and a special way to remember memorable times with friends and family around the table.

Living Inspired said...

OH my goodness! I have been reading your blog for a couple of months, and I didn't realize you wrote the Kid's Embroidery book (that I purchased in January)!! That's so cool! I just taught my daughter basic embroidery skills a few months back, so I'm saving this book for summer, where we'll have LOTS of time to embroider. It's gorgeous, and she is going to love it. My kids all loved looking at your pics from lambing season. thanks for everything!