‘Touching Stitches’ is running from the 29th of November – 29th of February. 

I went to a very exciting exhibition called Touching Stitches. I enjoyed it very much, especially as I have not been to an exhibition before that was quite so inclusive. There are a lot of replicated samples, a lot of which are 3D printed, which you can touch and feel. This means it is also accessible for visually impaired people. All of the objects were part of the Needlework Development Scheme.

NDS Collection 3346

NDS Collection 3346, Mexican Needle Weaving, 1951 © Image by Dzaui

A piece that really fascinated me was the Mexican Needle Weaving from 1951. I am Mexican myself so I have seen a lot of Mexican embroidery on dresses, shirts etc. I really liked this piece as it has a donkey on it and a bird and it truly reminded me of Mexico. They used blue thread on a piece of white fabric.


Skirt (Mexico) 1940s-1950s © Image by  Cooper Hewitt

The piece was used for samplers and Education and originally made in Toluca, Mexico. Looking at the piece we can identify the use of running stitches.  It is a technique of needle weaving. The piece is a decorative band with donkeys and bird on it with the use of blue threat. Analysing the piece and doing some research the band could be meant for decoration, but it could also perhaps have been meant as part of a skirt as a sort of belt, like with this object e.g. such as in this collection.


After the Spanish Conquest of Mexico in 1521 Spanish needlework came to Mexico as it was taught in mission centres were they were met with Mexican weavers, embroiderers and spinners. The Spanish needlework probably originated from ancient Egypt, Persia and other parts of the Near East. Some more information on Mexican embroidery can be found on the website of the V & A museum: https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/mexican-embroidery 

Sketchbook drawing Mexican Needle Weaving Donkey © Image by Dzaui

I wanted to try to replicate the design of the donkey, so I started with sketching some drawings of the donkey. The stitches are all running stitches, so I thought this should be fairly straightforward. However, when starting to draw out the design I found it quite intricate to draw out the straight lines and drawing the outline of the design of the donkey. As with needle weaving, you stitch the image horizontally, from the left to the right.

({{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18454233/ |title=Skirt (Mexico), 1940s–50s |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=23 February 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}} )