Armenian Needlelace and Embroidery
A Preservation of Some of History's Oldest and Finest Needlework

(ISBN: 0-914440-65-9)
EPM Publications (Publisher)
1983 McLean
127 pages
Size: 8 1/2" x 11 1/4"
Language(s): English

People of many nations treasure as family heirlooms the exquisite needlelaces and embroideries crafted for export in cottage industries by Armenian women and girls who survived the massacres suffered by their people in 1895- 96 and 1915-22. Yet few recognize these delicate lace collars, handkerchiefs, doilies and table covers as examples of a centuries-old, uniquely Armenian art.

In Armenian Needlelace and Embroidery, the reader becomes acquainted with these remarkably beautiful knotted laces and sumptuous two-faced embroideries which enriched homes and wardrobes of even the poorest Armenians before their national tragedy. Fortunately the needleart was not entirely lost. The techniques and patterns and rare examples traveled to five continents with a few surviving master practitioners. And now, in this landmark volume, Alice Odian Kasparian has put down for the future the history and usages of this wondrous needleart, described the technique with illustrated instructions and shared photographs of the finest heirloom specimens she has found in more than four decades of dedicated collecting.

Several of the photographed pieces were made by the author herself and by her mother who taught her. Mrs. Kasparian explains the basic technique of making the knot with the same painstaking care accorded her as a learner. Illustrated directions for traditional designs, as well as simple doilies and tiny flowers and animals are featured in the text.

Following the lace instructions are stitch diagrams for the famous Armenian interlaced embroidery, also called Marash work after its city of origin. Known by other names as well, this embroidery had been introduced from Armenia to Malta and Europe by the Middle Ages.

The Aintab embroidery (drawn work or Armenian white work) and the characteristic two-sided embroideries, generally worked with silk, gold or silver threads and often embellished with pearls or whole silk cocoons, are represented by unforgettable photographs.

Armenian Needlelace and Embroidery pays deserved tribute to the artistry of generations of women whose people vanished from their Western Armenian homeland, now part of Turkey. And it makes the beauty and secrets of their ancient craft available to any lace- maker of today.

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