Embroidery from Namibia

I cannot tell you how lucky I am to have a husband whose job takes him to different parts of the world, because whenever possible he brings back beautiful textiles for our whole family to enjoy. The latest trip to Namibia was no exception – just look at this magnificent tablecloth he brought back!

Beautiful hand embroidered tablecloth from Namibia.

Beautiful hand embroidered tablecloth from Namibia.

It is really hard for a photograph to do justice to such a large piece – it measures approximately 1.5m x 1.7m! So let’s look at some of the motifs in detail….

Woman killing a snake!

Woman killing a snake!

Traditional hut with fence and a bird.

Traditional hut with fence and a bird.

Wonderful elephant!

Wonderful elephant!

Aren’t they fantastic? I love them – they are whimsical, colourful, and naive and yet when all seen together they form this exquisitely cohesive whole.

But I love this piece even more for another reason. It is a simply wonderful teaching piece for my children’s classes. They can see in these designs that very simple shapes and lines can be stitched with a simple repertoire of stitches to create really fantastic pieces of embroidery.

My plan is for each child to embroiderer a cushion cover using these African designs as inspiration. And I really want them to see that the stitching doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. The elephant’s trunk above is far too big for his body, but he looks brilliant nonetheless! And the giraffe below is not filled with exquisitely smooth satin spots, but he is still quite clearly a very elegant giraffe.

A delightful giraffe!

A delightful giraffe!

And what about this cool windmill showing the water being collected in a tank and trough – with just a few simple lines the stitcher is telling a whole story about the preciousness of water.

I love this simple water story!

I love this simple water story!

I will be sure to share with you some photos of the children’s own versions of simple embroidered pictures after we have had the class later this month. In the meantime, please be sure to let me know if you have a treasured textile that inspires you – I would love to hear about it:)

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4 Responses to Embroidery from Namibia

  1. Carina June 4, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    I can’t see it!!!

    • Ann-Marie June 4, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      You can now I hope! Just a small hiccup with accidentally hitting publish whilst I was still half way through writing. Hopefully R and L are going to have lots of fun doing this project πŸ™‚

  2. Vivayne October 22, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    That’s pretty awesome!!

  3. Ann-Marie October 22, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    Thanks for visiting Vivayne. It is a pretty beautiful piece of embroidery πŸ™‚ I’m a big believer in using things rather than keeping them stashed away for “special”. So this tablecloth regularly appears on our outdoor setting and it is a great conversation starter!

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