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Other Name
BLACKWORK EMBROIDERY
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
COTTON, WOOD, GLASS
Catalogue Number
P20170033001
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
BLACKWORK EMBROIDERY
Date
2011
Materials
COTTON, WOOD, GLASS
No. Pieces
1
Length
65
Width
42
Description
BLACKWORK EMBROIDERY IN MATTE AND FRAME. EMBROIDERY COMPLETED IN BROWN ON WHITE FABRIC, AND SHOWS THE 1910 GALT HOSPITAL FRONT. EMBROIDERY INSIDE BROWN AND GREY MATTE AND BROWN WOOD FRAME WITH GLASS OVER. FRONT OF FRAME HAS BLACK ENGRAVED PLAQUE ON BOTTOM EDGE READING “GALT HOSPITAL/MUSEUM & ARCHIVES, 1910, DESIGNED AND STITCHED, 2011, BELINDA CROWSON”. BACK OF FRAME COVERED IN BROWN PAPER WITH SILVER WIRE ATTACHED FOR HANGING. BACK OF FRAME HAS WHITE LABEL WITH TEXT “LA GALLERY CUSTOM FRAMING & ART, 421-5TH ST. SOUTH, LETHBRIDGE, AB T1J 2B6, PH. 380.4556, FAX 380.4562, WEBSITE WWW.THELAGALLERY.COM, EMAIL INFO@THELAGALLERY.COM, W/O # H0761, ASSEMBLED BY CM”” WITH CHECK BOXES ON LABEL FOR “MOUNTING METHOD” AND “GLASS”, “NON-GLARE GLASS” CHECKED. FRAME HAS CHIPS ON FRONT EDGES; BACK HAS TEARS IN PAPER BACKING. OVERALL EXCELLENT CONDITION.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
DECORATIVE ARTS
History
ON NOVEMBER 16, 2017 COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED BELINDA CROWSON REGARDING HER DONATION OF A MUNICIPAL CAMPAIGN SIGN AND BLACKWORK EMBROIDERY PIECE. CROWSON WAS EMPLOYED WITH THE GALT MUSEUM AS THE MUSEUM EDUCATOR, WITH A REPUTATION AS A RENOWNED LOCAL HISTORIAN, UNTIL HER ELECTION TO CITY OF LETHBRIDGE COUNCIL IN 2017. ON THE BLACK EMBROIDERY PIECE, CROWSON RECALLED, “SHARING [THIS] WAS HARD, BECAUSE THIS WAS THE FIRST [PIECE] I DESIGNED…AND I VERY MUCH KNOW THE MEANING. IT WAS HANGING IN THE CLASSROOM [AT THE GALT MUSEUM] FOR YEARS, BUT IT WAS VERY HARD [TO GIVE UP], BECAUSE I DESIGNED IT; I STITCHED IT; AND IT’S A PIECE OF MYSELF.” “IT IS SOMETHING THAT I ACTUALLY DESIGNED, AND I HAD NEVER DESIGNED A PIECE BEFORE. I HAD TO LEARN HOW TO DESIGN IT, SO I ACTUALLY HAD A PICTURE AND GRAPH PAPER. I LEARNED HOW TO TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH, AND TURN IT INTO BLACKWORK STITCHES, EVEN THOUGH, OF COURSE, IT’S DONE IN BROWN, AND NOT BLACK. THE NAME DOESN’T ACTUALLY MEAN THE COLOR.” “BLACKWORK COMES FROM THE ELIZABETHAN TIME, AND IT WAS DONE WHEN LACE WAS REALLY EXPENSIVE. THEY WOULD TAKE BLACK THREAD ON WHITE MATERIAL. IF YOU DO BLACKWORK PROPERLY, IT’S ABSOLUTELY REVERSIBLE. IF YOU DID IT ON CUFFS OR COLLARS IT WOULD ALMOST LOOK LIKE LACE, AND BE REVERSIBLE FROM BOTH SIDES. IT’S A TYPE OF EMBROIDERY THAT USES PRIMARILY STRAIGHT LINES. I TAUGHT A CLASS TO PEOPLE AT THE GALT MUSEUM [ON] HOW TO DO BLACKWORK. I ACTUALLY TAUGHT AN EMBROIDERY CLASS IN THIS DESIGN, WHICH IS A VERY SIMPLE TYPE OF EMBROIDERY TO DO, BUT CAN CREATE INCREDIBLY ELABORATE DESIGNS.” “I COMPLETED [THIS PIECE] IN 2011 AND HAD IT FRAMED THAT SAME YEAR. IT’S SUEDE AROUND THE PICTURE MATTE.” “SOMETHING LIKE THIS SIZE OF PICTURE, IN BLACKWORK, PROBABLY ONLY TOOK ME ABOUT 2 WEEKS TO STITCH. IT’S A VERY QUICK DESIGN, BUT IT FILLS IN – AND, IF I WAS TO REDO IT AGAIN, I’D FILL IN MORE OF THE BLANK SPACES. [BLACKWORK IS] SUPPOSED TO LOOK AS COMPLETE AS POSSIBLE, BUT I WANTED TO MAKE THE COLUMNS STICK OUT, SO IT MAY HAVE WORKED IN THAT REGARD.” CROWSON ELABORATED ON HER BACKGROUND DOING EMBROIDERY, NOTING, “I HAVE BEEN DOING EMBROIDERY SINCE [I WAS] A KID. IT’S SOMETHING MY GRANDMOTHER KNEW; MY MOTHER KNEW; IT’S SOMETHING I WAS TAUGHT, AND, OF MY SIBLINGS, I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO DOES IT. THE OTHERS LIKE TO DO MORE STITCHING WITH MACHINES. I LOVE THE HAND-STITCHING, AND I HAVE LONG BEEN THINKING ABOUT DESIGNING. I ALSO HAVE A PASSION FOR HISTORIC BUILDINGS. I HAD DONE A BLACKWORK PIECE, WHICH WAS A PATTERN THAT I HAD BOUGHT AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. IT’S A REALLY NICE WAY OF DOING EMBROIDERY, SO I THOUGHT “THERE’S A WAY OF CAPTURING HISTORIC BUILDINGS IN A VERY DIFFERENT WAY.” I MADE MYSELF A CHALLENGE OF FIGURING IT OUT, AND, OF COURSE, THE WAY I DO MANY THINGS, I DIDN’T ACTUALLY RESEARCH HOW TO DESIGN. I JUST TAUGHT MYSELF, AND IT TOOK ME A WEEKEND. I THREW AWAY ABOUT 3 DESIGNS, UNTIL I REALIZED YOU’VE GOT TO START IN THE CENTER AND WORK OUT. THE NICE THING ABOUT THE GALT HOSPITAL—BECAUSE I DID THE FAÇADE OF THE HOSPITAL [IN THIS PIECE]—IS THAT IT IS SO BEAUTIFULLY SYMMETRICAL, IT MADE IT EASIER. I HAD…THE VARIEGATED THREAD, AND THE MATERIAL TO STITCH ON. THEN IT WAS A MATTER OF ACTUALLY CREATING IT. THE PATTERN HAD A LOT OF ERASING DONE ON IT, AS I CHANGED THINGS. I’M VERY PROUD OF THE WINDOWS…MY GOODNESS, THAT BUILDING HAS A LOT OF WINDOWS! IT WAS FUN, AND THIS WAS THE FIRST ONE [I MADE]. SINCE THEN I HAVE DONE GALBRAITH SCHOOL, THE BOWMAN, AND THE POST OFFICE. THE GALBRAITH SCHOOL IS HANGING AT GALBRAITH SCHOOL, THE BOWMAN IS IN MY HOUSE, AND THE POST OFFICE WAS RAFFLED OFF TO HELP RAISE MONEY FOR CHINATOWN.” “I REMEMBER, AS A KID, I WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO, BUT I WENT THROUGH ONE OF MY MOM’S JEWELRY BOXES. IN THERE WAS THE WORK SHE HAD DONE AS A KID. SHE HAD BEEN PRACTICING HER STITCHES. THAT STUCK WITH ME, AND I REMEMBER HER TALKING ABOUT HOW SHE HAD BEEN TAUGHT FROM HER MOM. MY GRANDMOTHER KEPT CROSS-STITCHING EMBROIDERY UNTIL HER ARTHRITIS GOT TOO BAD. WHEN I DO IT, I REALLY DO FEEL I AM PART OF THAT CHAIN, BECAUSE I DO HAVE EMBROIDERY THAT BOTH MY MOM AND MY GRANDMOTHER HAVE DONE. IT IS INTERESTING BECAUSE, FROM THE MENNONITE TRADITION ESPECIALLY, A LOT OF THE STITCHES I HAVE COME FROM THAT TRADITION, SO IT’S VERY MUCH A PART OF THAT. I WOULD LIKE TO SIT DOWN, ONE DAY WHEN I GET TIME, WITH MY MOM’S COUSIN, WHO DOES WHAT’S CALLED 3-D EMBROIDERING. IN MY FAMILY, PEOPLE ACTUALLY HAVE THE ORDERED EVERY DAY TEA TOWELS, THEY HAVE THE BED TOWELS. IT’S SUCH A PART OF THE SOUTHERN ART, SO MY [WORKS ARE] A LITTLE MORE MODERN INTERPRETATION OF SOME OF THAT. MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER WOULD HAVE SAT IN RUSSIA, DOING THE SAME STITCHES.” “I DON’T KNOW [HOW MANY PEOPLE IN THE REGION ARE DOING BLACKWORK EMBROIDERY]. I TAUGHT THE CLASS IN … EMBROIDERY, BUT I DON’T THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE PICKING UP BLACKWORK. IT’S INTERESTING, WHEN I MENTION THIS, TALKING TO SOME PEOPLE ONLINE, ONE OF MY FRIENDS WHO HAS A HISTORIC HOUSE IS LIKE, “COULD I PAY YOU TO DESIGN MY HOUSE?” [BLACKWORK EMBROIDERY] IS A FUN WAY FOR ME TO TAKE THOSE TWO IDEAS I LOVE-–OF STITCHING, AND HISTORIC BUILDINGS-–BECAUSE PHOTOGRAPHY, WITH WHAT PEOPLE HAVE TODAY, IS RELATIVELY EASY. YOU CAN TAKE POINT-AND-SHOOT. SOME PEOPLE ARE MUCH BETTER AT IT--THEY’RE ARTISTIC-–BUT THIS IS A WAY OF CAPTURING A BUILDING. YOU HAVE TO, VERY PERSONALLY, SIT THERE, AND BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO MEASURE EVERYTHING OUT, EVEN TO DESIGN IT, YOUR APPRECIATION OF THE ARCHITECTURE IS VERY DIFFERENT THAN A POINT-AND-SHOOT CAMERA.” “I’VE DONE FIVE BUILDINGS NOW, AND I HAVE SEEN EACH ONE IN A VERY DIFFERENT WAY. I REMEMBER THINKING, WITH THE POST OFFICE, WHEN YOU ACTUALLY LOOK AT THE HEIGHT OF THE CLOCK TOWER COMPARED TO THE BASE OF THE BUILDING, [YOU SEE THE] PHENOMENAL ARCHITECTURE, [BUT] IT’S ONLY WHEN YOU ARE STITCHING IT THAT YOU REALIZE THAT THE BASE OF THAT BUILDING ISN’T STRAIGHT. THE BUILDING GOES WITH THE SLANT OF THE SIDEWALK, AND I HAD TO TAKE AN ARTISTIC EYE, AND MAKE THE BOTTOM OF THE BUILDING STRAIGHT FROM THE FRONT. THE OTHER THING, WITH THE POST OFFICE, THERE’S ALMOST NO HISTORIC [PHOTOGRAPHS] OF IT STRAIGHT-ON; IT’S ALWAYS ON THE CORNER, BECAUSE THAT’S EASIER. I CAN’T CROSS-STITCH MY BUILDING ON THE CORNER, SO I HAD TO ACTUALLY TAKE MY OWN PHOTOGRAPHS, INSTEAD OF HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHS. THIS HAS REALLY GIVEN ME A NEW APPRECIATION OF THE BUILDINGS, BECAUSE I HAD TO LOOK AT THEM SO CAREFULLY. WITH THE BOWMAN—WITH ALL THESE BUILDINGS--YOU HAD TO THINK WHAT TIME PERIOD YOU WANTED TO DISPLAY. SO THE ONE OF THE BOWMAN, I HAVE THE UNION JACK FLYING [IN] THE PICTURE, BECAUSE I WANTED [TO CAPTURE] IT BACK WHEN IT WAS ORIGINALLY CREATED.” “IT’S AN ADDICTION. YOU SIT IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION, AND SOMETIMES A WEEKEND PASSES AND YOU HAVEN’T DONE MUCH. WHEN YOU’RE WORKING ON A PROJECT, FOR MYSELF, IT’S LIKE, “I’M GOING TO GET IT DONE.” THEN YOU TAKE A BREAK BEFORE YOU PICK UP THE NEXT PROJECT, SO YOU CAN DO ALL THE OTHER STUFF. TRYING TO PUT [AN ESTIMATE OF TIME SPENT CREATING] IT, I WOULDN’T HAVE A CLUE.” “I THINK EVERYBODY [HAS] MULTI-FACETS IN THEIR BRAINS, AND I USE DIFFERENT PARTS OF IT. IT’S ALWAYS FUN TO CHALLENGE, TO TRY NEW THINGS. ONE OF THE THINGS I’D LIKE TO DO…I’VE SEEN PEOPLE WHO ARE CROSS-STITCHING ON METAL [PUTTING HOLES IN]. IN THE SPRING, I WILL BE DOING A CROSS-STITCH PATTERN ON ‘PAGE WIRE’, THAT [ATTACHES] TO A FENCE, SO IT WILL BE OUTDOOR CROSS-STITCH. I LOVE WORKING WITH MY SILKS, AND MY REALLY DELICATE STUFF, BUT THE BEAUTIFUL THING ABOUT EMBROIDERY IS YOU CAN TAKE IT DIFFERENT WAYS. WHY SHOULD KNITTERS HAVE ALL THE FUN WHEN THEY GO ‘YARN-BOMBING’? WE CAN DO ‘CROSS-STITCH BOMBING’, TOO. IT’S ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHERE YOU CAN TAKE A VERY OLD FORM, AND MAKE IT VERY MODERN.” “IT WAS A HARD DECISION [TO DONATE IT]. I HAVE THE PATTERN. I CAN ALWAYS RECREATE IT. IT WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME. I DON’T CARE IF YOU RECREATE SOMETHING, IT’S NEVER THE SAME THING. BUT I HAD TO LET THE LOGICAL PART OF MY BRAIN HANDLE THIS DECISION, BECAUSE IT DID HANG IN THE CLASSROOM AND YOU POINTED TO THIS THING A LOT WHEN WE DISCUSSED THE BUILDING. FOR A LOT OF STUDENTS THIS WAS THE PICTURE OF THE BUILDING THAT THEY REMEMBER SEEING, SO THE CONNECTION TO MY JOB JUST MADE IT SUCH A STRONG [POINT]. THE OTHER THING IS, AS AN ARTIST…I GET TO SAY I’M AN ART-PIECE IN A MUSEUM. THAT’S QUITE THE HONOR. IT WASN’T CHOSEN AS AN ART-PIECE, BUT STILL I CAN MAKE THAT WORK. [I SPENT] PROBABLY A WEEK TALKING TO FAMILY MEMBERS AS WELL, BECAUSE I HAVE A LOT OF CROSS-STITCH IN MY HOUSE, FROM PATTERNS AND DIFFERENT THINGS. I REMIND THEM I’M NOT GOING TO DIE SOON, BUT SOME OF MY NIECES HAVE TOLD ME WHICH ONES THEY WANT WHEN I’M DEAD. SO I ALSO NEEDED TO TALK TO FAMILY, AND MAKE SURE THAT NOBODY WAS GOING TO BE CRINGING TO FIND IT WAS GONE. IT IS INTERESTING HOW THINGS THAT YOU CREATE [HAVE] A SENSE OF OWNERSHIP FOR OTHER PEOPLE TOO, SO I HAD TO DOUBLE CHECK WITH OTHER PEOPLE TOO.” “IT WAS JULY OR AUGUST OF 2000, WHEN I WAS INTERVIEWED BY WILMA WOODS, AND I WAS BETWEEN TEACHING [JOBS]…AND GETTING CLOSE TO THE START OF SCHOOL. I DIDN’T REALLY WANT TO SUB, AND IT WAS A TEMPORARY SIX MONTH POSITION. I APPLIED, AND WILMA INTERVIEWED ME ON THE MAIN FLOOR, IN THE HALF OF WHAT’S NOW THE FRIEND’S BOARDROOM. THAT IS WHERE HER OFFICE WAS, AND WHERE SHE DID THE INTERVIEW. I PREPPED. I WENT TO B. MACCABEE’S BOOKSTORE AND BOUGHT THE CENTENNIAL HISTORY OF LETHBRIDGE, AND READ THE ENTIRE BOOK…BEFORE THE INTERVIEW. I WASN’T REALLY THINK ABOUT WHETHER I’D GET THE JOB, SO I GAVE REFERENCES TO HER AND REALIZED I HADN’T ACTUALLY LET THE REFERENCES KNOW. I CALLED THEM AFTER I GOT HOME, WHICH WAS GOOD, BECAUSE I GUESS SHE CALLED FIVE MINUTES AFTERWARDS BECAUSE SHE WAS PRETTY QUICK. I STARTED [AT THE GALT MUSEUM] SEPTEMBER 1, 2000, WITH THE EXHIBIT ON THE IRRIGATION DISTRICT AND ITS CENTENNIAL. IT WAS A SIX MONTH GRANT POSITION. I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A TEMPORARY POSITION, BECAUSE AT THAT POINT THE E. TEAM HAD GEARED DOWN ON STAFF AT THE MUSEUM. SO I STARTED THERE, AND…JANUARY AND FEBRUARY OF THE YEAR, THEY WENT TO CITY COUNCIL AND ASKED FOR IT TO BE MADE A FULL-TIME PERMANENT POSITION. IT HAD TO BE POSTED, BUT I APPLIED AND GOT THE FULL-TIME PERMANENT POSITION IN MARCH 2001. I MADE THE DECISION, BUT WITHOUT REALLY THINKING ABOUT IT, THAT TEMPORARY POSITION TURNED INTO A SEVENTEEN YEAR JOB.” “[OF THE WORKS I’VE DONE] IT’S DEFINITELY ONE OF THE BIG ONES. THERE [WERE] A FEW OTHER THINGS I TOOK OUT OF MY OFFICE THAT HAVE BEEN WITH ME FROM THE BEGINNING…THE REASON I STITCHED THIS BUILDING WAS MY CONNECTION TO THE BUILDING. IT’S NOT ONLY A PHENOMENAL BUILDING, BUT THIS WAS ‘HOME’ FOR 17 YEARS.” FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20170033001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20170033001
Acquisition Date
2017-11
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
OBSIDIAN CORE
Date Range From
4000BP
Date Range To
1700
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
OBSIDIAN
Catalogue Number
P20150027000
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
OBSIDIAN CORE
Date Range From
4000BP
Date Range To
1700
Materials
OBSIDIAN
No. Pieces
1
Height
8.5
Length
32.7
Width
24.7
Description
SHINY, BLACK OBSIDIAN ROCK. VARIOUS GROOVES AND FLAKE SCARS ON THE OVERALL SURFACE OF THE ROCK.
Subjects
MASONRY & STONEWORKING T&E
INDIGENOUS
Historical Association
ETHNOGRAPHIC
ARCHAEOLOGY
History
THIS OBSIDIAN ROCK WAS DONATED ON SEPTEMBER 16, 2015 BY NANCY BIGGERS IN MEMORY OF HER LATE PARENTS, BOYD AND MARY BIGGERS. IT WAS LOCATED ON THE FAMILY FARM BY BOYD BIGGERS. ACCORDING TO A STATEMENT GIVEN BY NANCY AT THE TIME OF DONATION, "... FARMERS NEED TO CLEAR THEIR LAND OF ... ROCKS IN ORDER TO PLANT AND HARVEST THEIR FIELDS. BOYD WAS DOING THIS ONE DAY (IN THE EARLY 1980S) AND CAME ACROSS A BEAUTIFUL SHINY BLACK ROCK. HE WAS IMPRESSED BY [ITS] COLOURING AND THE VARIOUS GROOVES, SO RATHER THAN THROWING IT ON TO THE PILE WITH THE OTHER ROCKS, HE DECIDED TO TAKE IT HOME. ... MARY, BEING A SCHOOL TEACHER, TOLD HIM THAT IT APPEARED TO BE OBSIDIAN, WHICH THE ABORIGINALS USED TO MAKE ARROWHEADS AND TOOLS. MARY RETIRED FROM TEACHING IN 1986 AND THUS BOYD DECIDED TO SELL THE FARM. THEY MOVED TO LETHBRIDGE ... [AND] THE OBSIDIAN CAME WITH THEM ... AS IT WAS A REMINDER OF THEIR FARM LIFE. IT WAS USED AS A DECORATIVE PIECE IN BOTH OF THE HOMES IN WHICH THEY LIVED IN LETHBRIDGE." ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2015, ARCHEOLOGIST, NEIL MIRAU, OF ARROW ARCHAEOLOGY LIMITED STATED VIA EMAIL THAT THE ROCK HAD BEEN BROUGHT TO THE AREA BY HUMANS AND THAT IT WAS RELATIVELY EASY TO DETERMINE THE SOURCE OF THE OBSIDIAN FROM ITS GENERAL APPEARANCE. HE WAS ALMOST CERTAIN THAT THIS PIECE OF OBSIDIAN CAME FROM THE OBSIDIAN CLIFFS IN WHAT IS NOW YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WYOMING. HE WROTE, “OBSIDIAN DOES NOT OCCUR NATURALLY IN SOUTHERN ALBERTA AND REALLY THE ONLY WAY FOR IT TO GET HERE, ESPECIALLY THIS TYPE OF ROCK IS TO BE CARRIED BY HUMANS. OBSIDIAN ... WAS PRIZED BY PAST CULTURES AND IT MAKES VERY ATTRACTIVE AND VERY SHARP TOOLS AND PROJECTILE POINTS. THIS PARTICULAR PIECE HAS FLAKE SCARS SHOWING THAT IT WAS WORKED BY HUMANS. IT WAS LIKELY, GIVEN ITS ‘VALUE,’ CARRIED BY ITS OWNER TO FLAKE PIECES OFF EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE TO MAKE A NEW TOOL. OBSIDIAN IS ONE OF THE RARE TYPES OF STONE THAT IS CURATED BY PAST HUMANS, THAT IS, ALTHOUGH HEAVY, THEY WOULD HAVE CARRIED IT WITH THEM TO MAKE TOOLS WITH.” HE ALSO WROTE THAT OBSIDIAN FROM WYOMING THAT HAS BEEN FOUND IN SOUTHERN ALBERTA HAS ARRIVED “EITHER THROUGH TRADE OR BY LONG DISTANCE TRAVEL OF PEOPLE FROM HERE TO THERE AND RETURN," AND THAT THERE IS EVIDENCE OF BOTH METHODS. MIRAU INFERS THAT IT COULD HAVE BEEN DROPPED THERE THREE OR FOUR CENTURIES AGO, OR MANY THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO. SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR COPY OF THE NANCY BIGGER’S INFORMATION, EMAIL TRANSCRIPTS, MAPS OF THE LOCATION OF THE BIGGERS’ FARM WHERE ARTIFACT WAS FOUND, AND A PHOTOGRAPH OF BOYD AND MARY BIGGERS.
Catalogue Number
P20150027000
Acquisition Date
2015-09
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail