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Inspiration Board : Woolies

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British sailors crafted "Woolies" primarily between 1840-1880. These skilled and self-taught needle workers created intricately embroidered images of their ships during their free time. Here are some photos from a recent exhibit I saw at Annmarie Garden Sculpture Park & Arts Center in Solomons, Maryland.

Woolies 1

This ship seems to have met an unfortunate end... I wonder if the sailor artisan was a member of the crew, or just a witness?

Woolie- Detail, Burning Ship

A closer shot- the different stitches really give a beautiful movement to the flames and smoke.

Woolie- Detail 2- Burning Ship

In this detail you may notice the sailors jumping down to safety and escaping in row boats.

Woolie- Stumpwork Ship

This one is incredible- it seems to be a form of Stumpwork. There is some type of stuffing underneath the stitching of the sails, again, giving the illusion of movement.

Woolie- flag detail

Comments (4)

  • Oh gosh! I saw this exhibit over christmas when i was visiting my folks, it blew my mind.

  • I seem to recall a similar exhibition at one of the Smithsonians. The piece was stunning, with all kinds of stitches employed. This is a subject I've always wanted to follow up on, but just never have!

  • I saw the "Woolies" in Florida last year and the workmanship was just meticulous.

  • The detailwork is incredible! The artist gave a sense of dimension and movement to the smoke, the flames, and especially the sales in the "still intact" ship. What beautiful handiwork.

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