String Theory

Every needlepoint is an astonishing achievement, when you think about it.

They take tons of work--even a small needlepoint the size of a business letter has about a 100,000 stitches and took someone maybe forty-five hours just to stitch--an incredible investment of time and energy.

And when it's finished? Needlepoint is amazingly durable, colorful, lustrous, and rich--a needlepoint bag will last for years of heavy use, as strong as leather. And from the canvas to the finished piece, it's made completely of strings. Remarkable.

As you will soon see, the variety of images worked into needlepoint ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous. What leads needlepointers to choose the designs they do? Needlepoints can be as decorative as a bouquet of flowers, commemorative as a tombstone, or as funny as a cat coughing up a hairball. A surprising number are nudes (and mushrooms...). Most are designed by professional artists, and range from sophisticated to terrible. But some needlepoints are drawn and executed by the needlepointer, and though the artwork is sometimes crude, it's got the virtue of originality.

The collection of the Needlepoint Museum is biased toward the goofier, louder, odder, and more mysterious needlepoints. They've all been cast off for some reason or another, but we believe that they deserved to be saved, cherished, and shared. Why? Because someone, contrary to all reason, and totally against the grain of popular culture, devoted weeks, months, maybe years of time to her creation. That kind of investment gives power to object--and it gets pretty interesting when it's a sad-eyed beagle in a flower patch.

Maria Reidelbach


Click the needlepoint above to enter the gallery.


The Needlepoint Museum is happy to accept donations of orphan needlepoints. Please email for more information.