In our previous blogs, we have gone into great detail about the different ways in which embroidery can be used today for both individual and commercial purposes. But we often forget that the craft of embroidery didn’t just appear overnight—in fact, it has a storied history that really speaks to its utility and success throughout the ages.
Let’s take a time machine back to see how embroidery has grown over the years.
One of the earliest referenced uses of embroidery was under the Norman king, Roger II, in Sicily, around the turn of the tenth century. His coronation mantle was embroidered with the famed Tree of Life, with symbols then showing the plight of the Crusades. It was made with gold yarns, with the inner drawings adorned in silk. Precious stones outlined this beautiful design.
But embroidery really reached the rest of the world with the Renaissance, when new fabrics entered from the East, and artists drew portraits of subjects wearing the popular embroidered clothing of the day. Carlo Crivelli is, perhaps, the most famous painter to do this. His subjects of women or Biblical figures are often seen wearing dresses featuring painted embroideries, with a technical precision unseen at that time. To this day, it’s still one of the most beautiful examples of embroidery in art.
Over the next few centuries, embroidery would be limited to those in the worlds of royalty, or art. Famous kings, queens, and officials of the court would be seen, or painted, wearing the most exquisite embroidery of the day. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution, when advanced manufacturing techniques allowed more cost-friendly production of fabrics, that embroidery became available to the masses. It would still hold a place in high fashion, but that societal change allowed embroidery to reach far greater audiences.
Recognizing that history is just one of the many reasons we love embroidery and all of its uses today. For any questions about the craft, or our wide range of products, contact us today!