Tuesday, December 16, 2014

African Folklore Embroidery (Happy Hanukkah !)

This year, the beginning of Hanukkah gives us an opportunity to feature a truly multicultural craft form. We first came across African Folklore Embroidery when we spotted this intriguing Judaic African Collage at a 2014 quilt show.  The designs and quilt are by artist Leora Raikin, who was born in South Africa and has lived in California for more than 15 years; she was taught this creative needlecraft by her mother. 

Judaic African Collage by Leora Raikin at the 2014 Road to California quilt show

The blocks, which contain many Judaic designs, are embellished with strips of woven bead work, additional embroidery, and gold buttons.

We learned that Leora Raikin is not only the artist but also the owner of African Folklore Embroidery, a rapidly growing business offering patterns and supplies for African Folklore, animals, birds, flowers, Judaica, and more. 

At yet another quilt show, we spotted a quilt that features six beautiful African Folklore Embroidery flower designs.

A Window of Many Flowers by Christine McCollum, quilted by Kathy Harris

The African Folklore Panels were hand embroidered by Christine McCollum, who used only two types of stitches: chain stitch and French knots.  A collection of light and dark batiks join and frame the blocks in a braid pattern [Braid in a Day by Eleanor Burns.]  This quilt was exhibited at the 2014 Tucson Quilters' Guild show. You can see Christine's beautiful embroidery in the closeup photos below.

The extreme contrasts of brightly colored threads against the black fabric make these flowers both striking and beautiful.

Coming up:  The January 2015 Road to California quilt show will feature the largest exhibit of African Folklore Embroidery that the state of California has ever seen.  For more information on the show and on Leora Raikin's workshops and patterns, see the African Folklore Embroidery website.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

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