Gilt leather embroidery exhibition at the Swedish History museum

On October 10th, our exhibition of reconstructed gilt leather embroidery opened at the Swedish History Museum. The exhibition is called Guldskinnsbroderier- rekonstruktioner och nya tolkningar. (Gilt leather embroideries- reconstructions and new interpretations).

Together with a group of dedicated people we have recreated five large embroideries. Four of the embroideries are large coverlets, and two are large cushions. All originals, except Östra Stenby, are to be found at the museum. Since they are too fragile to be exhibited in a too well-lit room, they are not on display right now.

Two of the coverlets, Skepptuna and Dalhem 1, have been exhibited before at the museum, but three new pieces are on view for the first time. We proudly present reconstructions of Skokloster 2, Dalhem 2 and Östra Stenby. All fabrics are off course plant dyed, sewn by hand and decorated with gilt leather strips and some with white wool fabric. The new interpretations of how to use the old technique to create new art in our modern times, have been made by the group Skapande broderi Stockholm.

Here are some pictures from the opening. Thank you Göran Wingstrand for the photos. The exhibition will be on show until 14th of February 2021.

Dalhem 2
Östra Stenby
Detail Östra Stenby
Skepptuna
Dalhem 1

We would like to thank everyone that have been sewing and helping out with the project to make this happen. Without you this wouldn’t have been possible. <3

Agnes Bohman Boyle
Aina Hagman
Anders Klintholm Lilliehöök
Anna Malmborg
Anna Odlinge
Anna Sönsteby Lilliehöök
Barbro Bornsäter
Catharina Drakmården
Catrin Karlsson
Elina Sojonen
Elin Andersson
Elin Jantze
Emil Lagerquist
Emma Fryksmark
Ester Spetz
Eva Eriksson
Fia Makalös Lindblom
Hannah Ström
Ida Berg
Ingela Wahlberg
Justine Arnot
Kerstin Petersson
Khelan Butén
Lena Dahrén
Lia de Thornegge
Linnea Vennström
Magdalena Fick
Malin Ekberg
Maria Franzon
Mervi Pasanen
Sofia Berg
Thérèse Pettersson
Rasmus Rasmusen
René Guthof
Tove Kluge
Ulla-Mari Uusitalo
Ulrika Mårtensson
Vea Collins
Ylva Nellmar

Thank you all!

Project leaders:
Amica Sundström and Maria Neijman

Advent calendar December 22 2019

It’s too late and I have been driving 450km. So I’m to tired to update something useful.

Here goes a random collection of things.

Spindel tops in metal. And whorls. Athen, Greece. Dated medieval. 10-15th century

Lucet in bone/ horn. National museum Copenhagen, Denmark. Dated “medieval 13-16th”

Net shuttle from Lödöse. Dated 13-15th century

Shears for cutting the nap after fulling fabric. Dated 1850-ish. 9year (132cm ) old for reference . Sundsvall Museum,

/ Maria- tired

Advent calendar December 21 2019

Today we travel to the north of Sweden. All the way up to Resele church in Ångermanland. The medieval church was demolished 1841 when the new church was built. Today’s textile is an antependium from the old church.

It’s a wool weave and it has got one warp system and two weft systems.
The birds are a common motif during the later part of the Middle ages and the antependium is dated 1350-1500, it is dated by style.

The textile is part of the collection at Historiska Museet in Sweden.
/ Amica and Maria

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing

Advent calendar December 16 2019

Spindle whorls are often found in archeological excavations. The once found in medieval contexts are often made of bone, stone, metal or ceramic. In most of the cases the spindel stick is gone. Why? One thought is that a broken stick have a secondary value as fire wood. And that it’s difficult to mend a stick. And quite easy to make a new one.

What about spindel whorls made of wood? It’s a lot easier to cut a disc from a piece of wood then to make one in all materials mentioned above. Stone takes time to work with, and demands tools that can take some beating. Metal whorls was most likely made by craftsmen in a guild. Bone needs a saw, a tool that not all persons had. Ceramic needs a kiln.

We find few or no whorls made in wood. And when a wooden disc is found- can we be sure that it is a whorl without the spindle stick?

Anyhow- in the Gothem church on Gotland, Sweden, some items was found under the 13th century floorboards. A broken disc and something that really look like a distaff. Is the disc a whorl? We don’t know. What do you say?

Advent calendar December 12 2019

Button up!

The 14th century is the buttoned century. Buttons are around even before. For one example the Vikings also had buttons in some clothes. But it was during the 14th century that suddenly “everyone” was wearing rows and rows of buttons.

In art buttons are almost always depicted in white, yellow or the same colour as the garment. White and yellow are interpreted as “silver/ pewter” and “gold/ brass”. The same colour are probably made of fabric.

When using reconstructed buttons in re-enactment garments, it’s always difficult to find small and light weight buttons. If you put many buttons in a row it tends to get very heavy.

Original buttons are very often hollow. Like the once on the picture. They are made in silver and can be found in the collections of the National museum in Copenhagen, Denmark. Dated 14th century
/ Amica and Maria
Please cred us if sharing pictures

Advent calendar December 11 2019

Sewing thread. All reenactors ask themselves how thick should it be? And how should it look?

All sewing threads for hand sewing, that we have seen on items from migration period up til 20th century have one thing in common. It’s 2-plied. Silks not included, it’s impossible to count.

Thickness? Some say that a sewing thread should be as thin as the threads in the fabric. That is not a rule that is usable on the older historical material. They used a lot thicker thread then both warp and weft combined sometimes.

Here we can see a bottom hem on an alba from Forsby church, Sweden. It is dated 1100-1350. Now in the collections of Historiska museet, Sweden.

So- don’t be afraid to use a thicker thread
/ Amica and Maria

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing

Advent calendar December 5 2019

A bit late for Sweden but it’s still the 5th!!

One really good thing that can preserve fabric is fire. Not burning down, but being turned into charcoal. Like this medieval fabric from Nyköping, Sweden.

/ Amica and Maria

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing

Advent calendar December 4 2019

The fourth advent calendar post is a collection of things, all found in Nyköping, Sweden. And they are all dated to 13-15th century,

The flat spindle whols are something called Marleka in Swedish. The Marleka is a concretion and that type is very unique for Nyköping. It is a hard, compact mass of matter formed by the precipitation of mineral cement within the spaces between particles, and is found in sedimentary rock or soil. The medieval craft person just drilled a hole in the middle of it, and got a perfect spindle whorl.

The scissor is made by a highly skilled black smith. It still looks like it could cut some fabric.

The bone needle is quite large and is probably for nålbinding.

The wool fabric is of very high quality and have many threads per cm. The reddish fabric on the left was probably dyed with madder. Madder dyed fabrics seems to stay red even after 600+ years in the ground.

All items can be found in the collection of Sörmlands museum and are exhibit in the medieval exhibition at Nyköpingshus / Nyköping castle. 

/ Amica and Maria
If sharing photos- please cred us at Historical Textiles

Advent calendar December 2 2019

The second post in our advent calendar is a distaff found in Nyköping, Sweden.
Distaffs are rarely labeled as “distaffs” in the museum data bases. So is also the case with this one. The are often labeled as “wood fragment”. We understand if it’s difficult to tell one wood fragment from another, but the notch usually give them away.
This one is dated to 13-15th century.
It is broken and today it’s approx. 30cm long. The thickness is approx. 15-18mm wide.

Today it can be found in the collections of Sörmlands museum.

/ Amica and Maria

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing