The Timeless Art of Embroidery: Where Did it Come From?

In July 18, 2016

Embroidery is a simple art form that’s been enjoyed worldwide for centuries. It’s been commonplace for describing the culture and geography of countless places, making it easier for many to distinguish different locations.Embroidered Clothing


A few stitches in a little piece of fabric can say much about the people living in a certain country.


Embroidery started in 30,000 BC—during Europe’s Paleolithic era—when men wore clothing decorated with long lines of animal bone. However, it would take over 28,000 more years for the practice to be considered a creative medium.


In the Iron Age, people started decorating with shiny metals. Around that same time, others were getting especially creative for formal public landscaping, weaving chain patterns on more precious materials.


In 400 AD, citizens of the Middle East weaved gold into burial cloths. Unfortunately, the gold was melted afterwards, so it cannot be seen today. Over the next millennium, as weather threatened the security and comfort of homes, people relied more and more on fabric to efficiently shelter them.


Inspired by colorful historical portraits, Medieval Europeans would create “group pictures” on large sheets of fabric using very detailed backgrounds. This made viewers feel as though they were looking at real life.


Casual embroidery became popular with the 19th-century Berlin wool technique. Weavers would follow a printed outline of the design to get it right. Images made this way had more geometric depth than anything woven before, and each one only required one sheet. Consequently, people with fewer obligations had something interesting to pass their free time.


In the 1870s, it was decided that one didn’t need to see the full picture before stitching; they could just count their moves as they went. Cross-stitching weavers would do an equal number of loops in each direction. This resulted in firm, smooth, fluid imagery.


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