Guild School , Castine, ME
June 13-19, 2020
Instructor: Annelle Ferguson, Fellow
Project: Needlepoint Panel for a Handheld Fire Screen
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Imagine living over two hundred years ago and it being very cold outside. The only warmth in the home is from a blazing log fire. It would be more than one hundred years or so before electricity was available and gas was not used until the early to mid 19th century. The 18th century woman was well aware of the hazards of standing or sitting too close to an open flame. They were subjected to damaging their make-up or clothing. Many were probably humiliated when the hems of their gowns caught on fire or by having the roaring fire melt their manicured face.
Therefore, handheld fire screens were created. Made of various materials, these screens could be used by women to shield their faces while warming the rest of their body. The screen might be embroidered, hand-painted or embellished with precious gems. The handles were usually carved from wood.
In this class, students will needlepoint a small panel to be attached to a turned handle created especially for this class by Mark Murphy. The approximate measurements are 7/8" H x 5/8" W. Referring to antique screens for inspiration, students will sketch and chart a pattern on graph paper. They may select to needlepoint their panel on either #58 or #72 silk gauze, using silk threads. A partial chart, for stitching on #58 silk gauze, will be available for those not wanting to design their own pattern. Class discussions will include the essentials for setting up the project and in the selection of colors, plus adapting antique designs into 1/12 scale.
TIME: 12 hours. Completion is likely. If not, students will have all the necessary instructions and materials to finish the needlepoint at home.
POWER TOOLS: None
SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate and advanced. Students should be experienced with basic needlepoint and feel comfortable working on #58 or smaller count silk gauze.
MATERIALS FEE: $65, includes turned handle by Mark Murphy, to be collected at school