Samplers by Sisterworks. Hand stitched, historically based samplers of original design. Stitched on linen, mounted on linen (or 100% cotton for Truth Adam’s Sampler) and framed in a hand made, grain painted frame under glass. All samplers are gently distressed to mimic age and wear and enhance their historic appearance.
Sisterworks is a collaborative effort of sisters Marisa Carlson and Paula Walton. Their respective individual businesses are Artisan Creations and A Sweet Remembrance.
Recently, there has been some published controversy about reproduction samplers and originally designed samplers that contain historic motifs. We would like to share our views on the subject with you.
From a historic viewpoint, samplers were never meant to be art. They were a learning tool, that when completed, showed off the maker`s proficiency in embroidery. Marking samplers taught young girls how to stitch all the letters of the alphabet and numbers, which would enable them to mark personal and household linen. Marking samplers could be kept with the maker`s sewing supplies for future reference. More experienced stitchers created larger samplers that were often pictorial and frequently contained verses and/or alphabets. These more elaborate samplers were sometimes stitched at the direction of mothers for the purpose of furthering their child`s education, as a form of entertainment to occupy a sick child, or as a punishment (usually in the case of boys).
Girls schools taught needlework to their students, whose finished samplers were a way of showing what they had learned at school. Completed samples could be framed and hung in the family home to show visitors and potential suitors a young woman`s skill with a needle.
We view samplers as beautiful objects that are pleasing to the eye. Historically, samplers have always contained copied elements. Marking alphabets were printed in books (ex. The Instructor, or American Young Man`s Best Companion, Improved; by George Fisher; printed by John Bioren, Philadelphia, 1812, pages 294 & 295), girls who attended the same school were taught and stitched almost identical designs, and contemporary engravings were frequently reinterpreted into needlework. If one were to consider samplers art, then one should also recognize that collage is an accepted form of art.
When making our samplers, we seldom stitch exact reproductions. Instead, we incorporate historic motifs into a new layout or design. The reason for this is mainly because a great many antique samplers contain countless hours of needlework. If we reproduce them exactly, the cost to our customers is very high (even though we only charge $12 an hour for our work). All of our samplers are signed and dated by us on the back of the frames. In addition, we have decided to discretely add our initials and date to the actual samplers. We feel that putting an antique name and date on the sampler imparts a look that allows our samplers to blend with antique furnishings and surroundings and not look glaringly out of place. The dates we use frequently have a relevence to the work (ex. the date of a verse stitched onto the sampler). Our samplers are clearly marked and are not marketed as antiques. We are not attempting to deceive our customers in any way.
Should you wish to order any of our samplers stitched in a reversible marking stitch, you may do so at an additional cost of 50% over the listed price. We would suggest that customers who do so buy their samplers unframed, to allow the reversible marking stitches to be seen. Buying newly stitched, historically based samplers allows you display samplers in places where you would not be able to hang antique samplers (in a bathroom, in direct sunlight, or near a heat source).