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1  Re: Fall Nerd Battles: September 1 - November 30, 2014 ~Join Anytime!~ in Craftalongs by Ludi on: September 29, 2014 12:45:15 PM
Prompt:  September Flash Mob - The Game of Life
Team: Wordy
Bonus Points:  none
Project Name: Mop Covers
Project Link:
Brief Description:  I made two of these exciting elasticized shearling mop covers, so I can mop the floor!
Project Picture:

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2  Re: Embroidery Nerdgasm!! in Needlework: Discussion and Questions by Ludi on: September 29, 2014 10:57:11 AM
Magazine with pictures of work done by the Disabled Soldiers Embroidery Industry:  https://archive.org/stream/weldonsantiqueta00weld#page/n0/mode/2up

I'm bringing out my handy dandy pointy arrow and pure speculation to wonder if there is some embroidery lurking in this photo of Thesiger with James Whale:



and also just because I like this photo.  Smiley
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3  Vintage needlework research help needed! in Vintage Craft Projects by Ludi on: September 29, 2014 09:13:48 AM



I am researching the Disabled Soldiers Embroidery Industry, which was formed in London after World War 1.  Im looking for any magazine articles, pictures, or crafted items pertaining to the Industry.  Specifically Im looking for copies of a special issue of Weldons Antique Tapestry Magazine published in England after 1915, probably in the 1920s; I dont know the specific date of publication (but Im working on it!).



Thanks for any help you can provide!

More info about the Disabled Soldiers Embroidery Industry:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=435588.0#axzz3EikXVy5y
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4  Vintage needlework research help needed! in Needlework: Discussion and Questions by Ludi on: September 29, 2014 09:12:24 AM



I am researching the Disabled Soldiers Embroidery Industry, which was formed in London after World War 1.  Im looking for any magazine articles, pictures, or crafted items pertaining to the Industry.  Specifically Im looking for copies of a special issue of Weldons Antique Tapestry Magazine published in England after 1915, probably in the 1920s; I don't know the specific date of publication (but Im working on it!).



Thanks for any help you can provide!  Smiley

More info about the Disabled Soldiers Embroidery Industry:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=435588.0#axzz3EikXVy5y

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5  Re: Embroidery Nerdgasm!! in Needlework: Discussion and Questions by Ludi on: September 29, 2014 09:01:03 AM
Yes, I'm particularly interested in his young life as a painter. 

And just because cute, here's a picture of "Willie" Ranken as he would have looked when Ernest first met him at art school:



  Kiss
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6  Re: Embroidery Nerdgasm!! in Needlework: Discussion and Questions by Ludi on: September 29, 2014 05:35:19 AM
I think he had a strong sense of "There but for the grace of God..."  

The last part of the book contains no embroidery.  Thesiger tells of the beginning of his film career, when a play he had been a great success in, "A Little Bit of Fluff" was made into a motion picture in 1918,  but the director failed to tell him that film acting is different from stage acting and the film was a flop.  He appreciated and benefited from strong directors, which can be seen in his work with James Whale and "They Drive by Night's" Arthur Wood.  The most "naturalistic" performance I've seen of Ernest's is in "They Drive by Night."  Still he always remained a performer of theatrical style.  In spite of the failure of "A Little Bit of Fluff" Thesiger made at least six films during this period.

Interestingly, Thesiger doesn't mention an important event in his life during this time, his marriage to William Ranken's sister Janette in 1917.  I've read differing accounts of this; one says that Ranken specifically requested that Ernest marry his sister, another that when Ranken heard of their engagement he was so upset he shaved his head in protest.  In any case, they remained married for the rest of Ernest's life.

http://williamranken.org/information%20forum.htm

At the end of the book Thesiger tells of his psychic ability to read someone's past by looking at them.  He could tell quite intimate details of a person's past by staring at their face, which were verified by the subjects.  He could also get impressions of a person's future.  Do you believe it?  After all, his memoir is only "Practically True!"  Wink

There is, sadly, apparently no book-length biography or even a website dedicated to this fascinating character.  If I lived in England I would attempt it, but the research would be too difficult and expensive to do from here.  Besides, I'm no writer.   Lips sealed


This photo is possibly from the 1938 play by George Bernard Shaw "Geneva" of Thesiger dressed as Joseph Chamberlain



and here's a painting of an Arabian street scene, no date



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7  Re: Embroidery Nerdgasm!! in Needlework: Discussion and Questions by Ludi on: September 28, 2014 10:20:05 AM
Around about 1909 Thesiger realized he was never really going to make it as a painter, and turned to acting as a likely second profession.  Hed been to a palmist who told him he would have three professions in his lifetime.  Hed taken part in amateur theatricals since the age of eight, so knew a bit about the craft.  He immediately set about meeting everyone who was anyone in the theatrical world.  His favored methods for making an impression on people new to him seems to have been to say something insulting to them on first meeting, or to send them flowers.  He quickly became successful in his new career, I have no intention of giving a list of all the parts I have played since; but for the first three years that I was on the stage I worked every night, and I owe more than I can say to the encouragement of my first manager.  One of his favorite managers was Sir Gerald du Maurier, son of the famous Victorian writer and illustrator George du Maurier and father of author Daphne du Maurier.  With the success of his new career Ernest became well known, for better or worse.  He says nothing of this sort of thing in his memoir, but heres a bit of gossip from a discussion about writer Evelyn Waughs circle of wild friends:

Lady Christabel Aberconway, on arriving at the Beauchamps London house for tea, found the flamboyant actor Ernest Thesiger naked from the waist up and adorned with ropes of pearls.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookreviews/6023040/Evelyn-Waughs-mad-world.html



Thesiger liked to meet authors, particularly authors of plays. He worked closely with James Barrie, portraying Cameron in Barries play Mary Rose and later, Captain Hook (I would love to have been able to see that!).  He particularly enjoyed working with George Bernard Shaw, and one of his most famous roles was The Dauphin in Shaws play Saint Joan.  But this was after the War.  

Ernest was in France when war broke out, and quickly returned to England.  To cross the Channel he had to get a safe-conduct pass from an official, I stood at a table while a pleasant young man wrote down a detailed description of my appearance.  But when he came to my nose he was frankly nonplussed - it certainly beggars description. Nez? Nez?  he kept on saying pensively. Nez? Que dirai-je? (What shall I say?) At last, with all the magnanimity due to an ally, he made up his mind and declared resolutely, Nez, normal. I nearly embraced him!  In England Ernest was assured he wouldnt be needed as a soldier but news soon turned dire, the English forces were nearly beaten.  He went to various recruiting offices and was eventually accepted in the Queen Victoria Rifles.  He seems to have gotten virtually no training, being tested in his ability to fire a rifle only once.  The only one in his group who didnt pass was nearly blind.  Thesigers service was mercifully brief, four months in total with only three weeks in the trenches of France.  It was a horror of mud and constant rain, and theres no indication he ever actually shot at anyone.  He was wounded when his brigade hid out in a barn to try to get a little dry.  The barn was shelled.  Both of Ernests hands - his beautiful, precious hands - were smashed and his face peppered with shrapnel.  The man next to him, with whom he had shared breakfast, was completely blown up except for his boots with leg stumps in them.  Ernest managed to get out of the barn without looking around more at the carnage, and waded from the battlefield with his mangled hands held above his head for fear of falling on them and doing more damage.  Three weeks later he was back in England with his hands in splints.  He wanted to become an observer in an airplane (he says aeroplane) but was rejected.  Still he wanted something to do.  It is best told in his own words:

In all the hospitals where I visited my friends I found men busily making needlework horrors and it occurred to me that they would be better employed copying some really good designs.  I thereupon began to teach some of the men, lending them old cross-stitch designs from my own small collection.  One morning I got a peremptory letter summoning me to the mInistry of Pensions, and I discovered that my activities had been brought to the notice of that body.  I was told that there were many totally disabled men for whom it was almost impossible to find employment, and was asked whether I considered that needlework had any commercial possibilities.  I assured the ministry that, if they would let me teach the men to do the sort of work I wanted, I could find a ready sale for it, and I produced letters from four important firms heartily encouraging the scheme and promising to support it.  In spite of this the Pensions officials came to the conclusion that needlework was an effeminate occupation for ex-soldiers, and shelved the idea. A few months later, no possible employment having been found for men who were neurasthenic or suffering from shell-shock, I was sent for again and repeated my arguments in favor of a school of embroidery for disabled men.  Again the old objections were raised and I was finally told that the Ministry would not support any such scheme.  I heard, however, that The Friends of the Poor, who had a department of ex-soldiers, were teaching some of them to do needlework, and, snubbed by the Pensions officials, I offered my help and the benefit of such experience as I had had to Miss Collin, the head of the Ebury Street Institution, and to Lady Carisbrooke, the chairman.  Ever since that day a hundred totally disabled men have been found employment, and the work they produce is as good as any of the kind that I have ever seen.





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8  Re: Embroidery Nerdgasm!! in Needlework: Discussion and Questions by Ludi on: September 27, 2014 03:59:55 PM
And here's a bit of art history triviata which has been consuming me most of the day, just the sort of thing with which I become obsessed:  Thesiger befriended the prolific but doomed artist Charles Conder, who in the previous century had been part of a set of aesthetes which included Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde.  in 1905 Conder held a famous masked ball at his house and invited Thesiger:

I went as Death, in black draperies, with a skull-mask wreathed in scarlet poppies.  On the many fans that Conder afterwards painted representing the ball, there is nearly always to be found my macabre figure in the corner.

Conder painted decorative fans using the delicate and fugitive media of watercolor on silk; few of these seem to survive.  I am so intrigued by this figure of Death that I spent much of the day studying tiny reproductions of Conder's works on the internet trying to spot him.  I'm afraid none of the fans resulting from the ball survive, or if they do, they aren't on the internet.  I did find this one painting of Conder's entitled "The Masquerade" with a figure of Death peering into a woman's face.  But is it Ernest?  I may never know...





Here's the invitation to the ball, by Charles Conder:



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9  Re: One Down Eight to Go in Needlework: Completed Projects by Ludi on: September 26, 2014 04:11:36 PM
Thank you!  Here's a closeup of the moth:



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10  One Down Eight to Go in Needlework: Completed Projects by Ludi on: September 26, 2014 03:01:19 PM
Mixed media with embroidery, for missmuffcake in the Faux Taxidermy Swap:



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