A Bargello Bargain

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Today Dear Readers, we are going to talk a bit about embroidery and needlework.  You are probably wondering what the heck do I know about embroidery, and the answer would be more than you would think!  I know, how do I manage to fit it all in?!!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I am a first-generation American and that my family is from Hungary.  I grew up eating Hungarian food and my first language was Hungarian.  My paternal grandmother looked after me for the first two years while my mother worked.  Both sides of the family lived near each other, at first in a Hungarian community in New Jersey.  That is how Hungarian I am.  Because I was quite close to both of my grandmothers, I learned how to do a lot of things from them.  I learned how to cook.  I learned how to sew.  I learned how to knit and crochet, and I also learned how to do some embroidery.  I also learned a few choice Hungarian swear words, but we won’t really talk about that.

My maternal grandmother was the one who taught me all the needle work.  The styles of embroidery that she taught me are Matyo Embroidery and  Kalocsa Embroidery.  It is this type of embroidery that most people associate with Hungarian embroidery, although there are many other styles.  I used to own a beautiful gypsy blouse with the neckline embroidered in this manner.  I even had Hungarian dolls in traditional costume with lovely embroidery on.  I think I still have a couple somewhere.

Hungarian Bookmarks

These are a couple of bookmarks that my grandmother brought back from Budapest when I was a little girl.  The design on the right is in the Matyo style, or is it Kalocsa?  This is fairly easy to do as most of it is in a satin stitch, though there are many complicated designs too.  If you Google this style, you will see many beautiful works.  It is very colourful.  It is probably why I really love folk art and the art found on barges and narrowboats in the UK.  You can see some examples here.  (I think I even met this guy!)  Notice some of the similarities.  I could go on and on about my grandmother and her embroidery, but I will save that for another time!

So, what does Hungarian embroidery have to do with Bargello needlework?  Some might say nothing, but it is believed that Hungarian needlepoint had an influence on the work found in the Bargello Palace in Florence.  That is my segue. Heh!  Plus it is nice to talk about something different for a change.

So, I am out looking for two bedside tables that must be no more than 14 inches wide when I spy this little seat with a Bargello cushion!

Bargello Needlework

I love the colours!  After reading up on Bargello needlework, I can really appreciate the time and effort that went into making the seat cover for the little piece I found.  I took the cover off of the seat as it is a bit musty and worn on one side, but I want to clean it, and frame it, and hang it in the dining room as the colours fit in really well.   If you were to go out and purchase a Bargello cushion, prices could go as high as £200+ depending on the design and quality.  Just Google ‘Bargello Cushions’ and look at the wonderful designs.   I am so happy I only paid £5 for the whole seat!

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