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The Secret Of Embroidery

The Secret of Embroidery

Embroidery, the craft of embellishing cloth with decorative stitches has been a popular artistic craft practised throughout the ages. Some of the earliest evidence of this dates back to 5th Century China. Similarly early works of embroidery have been discovered throughout the world, with works of embroidery found in many early civilizations.

In the 9th century, Saracens in Sicily established some of the first tiraz  textile workshops. These workshops focused on the production of embroidered textiles, though it is likely the art of embroidery in Sicily pre-dates this period of occupation. Norman ruler King Roger II encouraged the expansion of further tiraz workshops, with the most renowned housed in the Royal Palace of Palermo. Sicily’s rich history of changing civilizations, peoples, and cultures has ensured that over time various skills and traditions have enriched the art of embroidery from the territory.

Sicilian stitches

Examples of Sfilato Siciliano

The traditional technique known as Sfilato Siciliano (drawn thread work in English), originates from the Ragusa Ibia, Comiso and Chiaramonte Gulfi areas of eastern Sicily. This intricate thread work requires immense skill and concentration.

We suggest a visit to the Museo del Ricamo e dello Sfilato Siciliano in Chiaramonte Gulfi in the province of Ragusa. This museum houses countless examples of Sfilato Siciliano. If visiting the museum, you will have the opportunity to see examples of this impressive local artistry close-up.

The famous tradition of Sicilian Parade embroidery, literally handed down from generation to generation follows 3 classic techniques; ’400, ’500 and ’700. Using only the finest cotton, artisans of this uniquely Sicilian style of embroidery are renowned for their high-quality artistry. The techniques and method are almost a secret amongst locals practising this handicraft.

Health benefits of embroidery

Sfilato Siciliano di Rosanna Garofalo

Many pieces of embroidery may have been produced to embellish, repair or reinforce a fabric – but we also know that embroidery serves as a creative pastime for many. It is no coincidence that such a popular creative handicraft has also been found to have health benefits. At Creative Italy we wanted to share with you the top 3 benefits of practising embroidery…

1. Embroidery boosts brain function – as we have already found, much of the art of embroidery requires immense concentration and focus. Memory function is thought to be called upon when applying various stitches, and to this effect embroidery has been found to benefit those suffering with dementia. Just as music and art has been found to benefit those suffering with Alzheimer’s, we may learn more in the near future about how practising this handicraft is also beneficial to brain function.

2. Embroidery aids stress reduction – spending a few minutes or hours focused on one activity whilst not overexerting yourself physically, can provide much needed respite from the stresses of modern life. In fact embroidery could be considered as a type of mindfulness – with the act of stitching forming an almost meditative practise. Much has been written of the benefits of mindfulness and meditation to our mental wellbeing. With an increase in cases of anxiety and mental health disorders in recent times, many have looked to activities such as embroidery as a way of tackling symptoms.

3. Embroidery boosts creativity – yes that’s right, being creative is good for our wellbeing! Thinking creatively, as well as the physical act of creating actually helps us with problem solving. Whether it’s in the workplace or our personal life, we all encounter problematic situations. Being able to look at situations creatively is a huge benefit to our wellbeing.

Where can I learn?

corso artigianato

Embroidery outdoors

As always, we at Creative Italy strive to find the best local artisans to guide you on your creative journey. If you are trying embroidery for the first time or looking for the opportunity to further develop your passion for needlework, we have the course for you.

Perhaps you would like to get to grips with the basics of the chain stitch, or learn the secrets of the classic Sicilian Parade ’400 technique.

Not only will you spend time with experts guiding you on your artistic adventure, you will also enjoy the benefits of the calm that embroidery can bring. Unwind, de-stress, relax and contact us now for your customised quote!

Course duration: minimum 4 hours

Locations:
L’Aquila, Abruzzo
Rome, Latium
Lecce, Puglia
Milazzo, Sicily
Palermo, Sicily
Ragusa, Sicily
Florence, Tuscany
Deruta, Umbria

Prices from: EUR 30.00 per hour – please contact us to personalize your course or experience

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