Monday, November 23, 2009

Barbara and Caroline Bevan

Last week I received a lovely note all the way from Australia. Barbara and I first became acquainted years ago through my sampler internet newsletter, With My Needle and Pen.

Barbara wrote, If I had to vote for the woman who has had the most influence in my life I would have to say Ellen. A very dear friend of mine found Ellen's web site many many years ago and notified me about her wonderful newsletter. I haven't looked back since.

My very first reproduction sampler was Ellen's “Caroline Bevan” which now has pride of place on my sampler wall. She has guided me through her newsletter all these years together with all the many ladies who have contributed to the newsletter and helped me with problems locating fabrics, threads, patterns and also been there when I have had difficulties with some of the stitching.

Apart from one very dear friend, Jennifer, living in Perth, Western Australia, who corresponded with me for a few years before we even met, I don't personally know anyone else who is even remotely interested in samplers. Makes for quite a lonely existence when one lives and breathes samplers. My husband is a treasure and listens and shows the correct amount of interest when I am showing off a finished piece but I do miss my friend Jennifer for our bi-annual show and tell now we are on the other side of Australia.

I started my “Caroline Bevan” sampler in September 2000 and finished her in November 2000. She was my first and fastest reproduction sampler ever but I was on holiday for part of the time. We had gone north from Perth in land through some very remote outback country.

I stitched my initials in red in the lower left-hand side of the sampler and I always write up on the back of the frame when I started and finished, any history I know of about the sampler and also who produced the pattern.

an enlargement of one area of the sampler

It was lovely stitching "Caroline" as I sat under a large gum tree in the afternoons. I was worried about keeping her clean because the red dust in the outback is terrible to keep out of clothes and easily stains. However I managed and couldn't wait to get her framed to show off to Jennifer.

I made the silly mistake of leaving the frame face up in the back of my car when I travelled to Perth and another box "jumped" over and damaged one side of the frame. I had a very understanding framer who replaced the damaged side for a token amount since he had a small portion of the frame left over.

When I stitched "Caroline" we lived in the South West of Western Australian where we ran our own farm for ten years, but we have also worked on Aboriginal Missions in the Northern Territory and cattle stations in Far North Queensland in Cape York (were I stitched "Band of Many Colours" designed by Eileen Bennett,"The Sampler House"). Now we are retired we live in the Central Highlands of Tasmania at the end of the Great Lake. Wonderful wildlife here. We regularly have deer, wombats, wallabies, possums and very rarely Tasmanian Devils through our garden and Wedgetail Eagles over head. After travelling all around Australia over the last 30 years we feel we have found paradise. This is a very dry alpine climate and my samplers should last forever here.

Thank you very much, Barbara, for sharing a photo of your wonderful work and also the story. Also thank you for the kind words about me. You have truly touched my heart.

Barbara has really gotten involved with antique samplers. (I think I may have created an "addict".) She has even reproduced some for her personal pleasure. Those of you who receive my sampler newsletter, With My Needle and Pen, will be able to see photos of these samplers in the next issue.


Margaret said...

I'm looking forward to seeing Barbara's reproductions. Her Caroline Bevan is wonderful!

Laurie in Iowa said...

I loved reading Barbara's story and am looking forward to seeing her reproductions in the upcoming newsletter.
Ellen, you have touched so many lives... and are leaving a glorious stitching legacy.

Bethany said...

What a lovely letter, we all have been influenced by your knowledge, love of samplers and needlework. Barbara couldn't have written a more touching tribute to you Ellen and I feel just as blessed. I as well as many others, will look forward to you up and coming Newsletter.