The Elizabeth and Micheál Feller Collection Volume II arrived last week and since then it has been my nightly companion. Most of my embroidery books tend to be “looked at” more than” read”. They are such visual books, with photos that speak so strongly to those of us who stitch. Sometimes I like to lose myself in the images, examining the stitches, the patterns created, the materials used, trying to imagine who stitched each piece, where, why…all those romantic notions that fill my head when looking at things both old and beautiful.
The Elizabeth and Micheál Feller Collection Volume II, however, is different. Elizabeth Feller, the author, has taken great care to research, and then write about, the history of each piece. This isn’t a dry ‘who, what, where, when, how and why’ history. These little snippets of history are very personal, poignant or puzzling and always interesting. Sometimes there’s enough information that I can almost see the young woman stitching the piece so long ago.
The history is mingled with descriptions of the pieces which point out to the reader unique aspects of the different embroideries in the book. Sometimes she has included a story about how she and her husband, Micheál, acquired the piece. There are a few pieces where she discusses the conservation of the piece which is a fascinating insight into an area of needle work that I know little about.
The book is published by Needleprint, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article. In addition to so many people who have contributed to this beautiful volume, Elizabeth Feller gives special thanks to Jacqueline and Richard Holdsworth. They have, as is customary, published another stunning volume for us to enjoy. If all of this wasn’t enough, on the inside of the jacket there are charted patterns for stitching two replica samplers.
If you are, at any time in the future, going to be compiling a gift wish list, I would recommend you put this book on that list. Or you can indulge yourself and order one now. Either way you can look forward to hours of pleasure once it arrives.