Friday, 20 September 2013

There should be a law.

One of the topics in the Forum this year was embroidery - a lovely topic. It was also a wonderful and really fascinating piece in the focus of the paper. The only unfortunate bit? The piece (an embroidered late antique tunic from the RGZM Mainz) had been conserved and placed onto a stand in the main exhibition so that the back of the embroidery is not accessible - and there are no photos of the back.

Now, if you are an embroiderer, you will know that the frontside shows the picture and the backside tells the story. Which stitches were used? In what direction were they worked? How were starts and stops (or larger gaps between similarly coloured batches) handled? Was the worker sloppy or neat? Which parts were worked first? All this... discernable only from the backside.

So I will repeat the There-should-be-a-Law thing that I posted already ages ago - I mentioned it at the Forum, and there was general agreement, by the way.

There should be a law that makes anyone writing about an embroidered piece to post at least three good quality photographs, showing a) the complete piece with measurements given in the text; b) a close-up (or several) of a detail, showing all the stitch techniques and materials used on the piece, together with a ruler or other size indicator on the photo; and c) a close-up of the back side of exactly these said details, also with a size indicator on the photograph.
Because it's the backside that tells the story, and the detailed view that makes it possible to listen to that story.

Now we only need to make it a real law. Any helpful suggestions on that?


Harma said...

And with something for colour comparison, like your banknote pics from Spain.

Anonymous said...

And with spindle whorls - weight as well as pretty picture.

And with all equipment a prominent note stating, "This is not photographed in situ as found or used, but re-arranged to allow better light", or give it a few decades and it shall become written that all textile practitioners of the early 21st century could only work if they had first liberally spread the place with banknotes. Actually that's not a bad idea...

I'm reminded because of the photos of looms all presented in the same way that I saw during my PhD and then finding an article where someone had pointed out that they'd been displayed like this by someone who had never actually used one but wanted it all nicely set up square because that looked better for the visitors.