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STITCHING TRADITION: An Invitation to a Public Sewing Circle

An Embroiderers’ Exchange
The History Center of Tompkins County
Ithaca, NY
November 29, 2011



Stitching Tradition: An Invitation to a Public Sewing Circle

An Embroiderers’ Exchange
The History Center of Tompkins County
One block east of the Ithaca Commons at 401 E. State/MLK Jr. Street
Ithaca, NY
(607) 273-8284
FREE and open to the public!
The History Center of Tompkins County was the setting for a public program, “Stitching Tradition: An Invitation to a Public Sewing Circle.” This exchange of ideas and embroidery techniques, and an exhibit of the work of Eniko Farkas of Ithaca and Very Nakonechny of Philadelphia, PA, it featured the handmade and collected work of these two needleworkers on informal display in the gallery space. Also included were four weavers from the refugee Karen community (from Myanmar, or Burma) of Utica who brought a Southeast Asian perspective to the gathering. With host folklorists Ellen McHale and Lisa Overholser of the New York Folklore Society and visiting independent folklorist Amy Skillman from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the group discussed textile preservation and exhibiting as well as teaching methodologies.

Exchange participants (from left), Eniko Farkas of Ithaca, folklorists Amy Skillman (Pennsylvania) and Lisa Overholser (New York Folklore Society), and Vera Nakonechny of Philadelphia examine Vera’s embroidery documentation.

Participants in the Embroiderers’ Gathering included members of the Karen Micro-Enterprise Project of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, Eniko Farkas of Ithaca, and Vera Nakonechny of Philadelphia.


Eniko Farkas and friend

Eniko Farkas, of Ithaca, and friend

Eniko Farkas
Eniko Farkas demonstrates a specific Hungarian embroidery technique to Vera Nakonechny, Ukrainian needleworker and weaver from Philadelphia.

This program was the public component of a traditional embroiderers’ exchange organized by the New York Folklore Society, and funded by the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, taking place in Ithaca the last week of November. Funded by a grant from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Folk Arts Outreach Program, the exchange drew more than forty people who came to view the work and interact with the artists. Besides the artist to artist exchange, folklorist Amy Skillman of Pennsylvania met with folklorists from the New York Folklore Society, Ellen McHale and Lisa Overholser, to talk about arts within refugee communities and to discuss some of the steps to create statewide exhibitions.

Mid-Atlantic Arts Folklorists

READ the full account of the Embroiderers’ Gathering in Voices 37:3-4, 2011.

NEW YORK FOLKLORE SOCIETY ♦ 129 Jay Street ♦ Schenectady, NY 12305 ♦ 518.346.7008 ♦ Fax 518.346.6617 ♦ nyfs@nyfolklore.org