Back in December, our friends over at SF School of Needlework and Design hosted a CM Field Trip on Crafting Traditions: Contemporary Embroidery Revival. Here’s what you missed:

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In Union Square, among bustling shops, cable cars, and a vibrantly lit holiday scene, a quiet little office space full of needles, yarn, and string is perched above the square. The San Francisco School of Needlework and Design is a nonprofit hand embroidery school whose mission is to preserve and advance the art of hand embroidery.

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Lead Instructor Lucy kicked us off with a lovely history of embroidery traditions and purposes from different parts of the world. We got to see examples of both amateur and professional pieces featured all around the room, on the walls, and even on some outfits…

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Check out Field Trips host Amanda’s intricately embroidered jacket from Japan. Following the end of WWII, American GIs started getting traditional Japanese designs hand-stitched into the backs of their jackets to bring home as literal souvenirs after the post-war occupation of Japan. Popular designs included dragons, cherry blossoms, and trees. Amanda’s original Japanese Souvenir Jacket was found in a vintage shop, and we can help but be inspired by the beautiful artwork.

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For the hands-on portion of the workshop, Lucy and the rest of the team taught traditional stitches and fundamental techniques, such as the whipped back (above), the chain stitch, and french knots. Using water soluble markers, stitchers could trace their designs onto cloth to embroider their own custom napkins and tea towels.

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We hope everyone enjoyed this field trip on December’s theme: TRADITION. What a great way to DIY the perfect handmade gift for the holiday season.

A big thank you to SFSNAD for hosting and teaching this workshop. You can find them in Union Square at 360 Post Street, Suite 604. All photos taken by Thomas Phan. Check out more photos from the event on Flickr.