Mountmellick Work Irish White Embroidery
Mountmellick Work, Irish White Embroidery

Mountmellick Work, Irish White Embroidery


ISBN: 978-0-85105-512-1

29.8 x 21.0 cm.  80 pp.   2nd edition  1996

White-on-white embroidery in various forms has been practised in Ireland for several centuries. Mountmellick work is probably the best-known style of Irish white embroidery and is named after the town where the craft was developed in the early decades of the nineteenth century.  Mountmellick is in the centre of the area in which Ireland's cotton spinning and weaving industry developed a century earlier and here, in about 1830, Mrs Johanna Carter invented the style of embroidering in thick cotton thread which is named after her native town.

Many of the characteristic designs are based on natural forms, especially on the abundant flora of the area, worked into richly decorative patterns. Mountmellick work became widely known in a few decades and was shown at several international exhibitions. The craft declined in the early years of the present century, but the old paper patterns, many in extremely fragile condition, were preserved by local enthusiasts and by the devoted sisters of the Mountmellick convent who continued to work the designs. Jane Houston-Almqvist has had access to these original patterns in preparing her book which not only tells the story of the craft, but is a practical manual with many full-size patterns based on the originals. Mountmellick Work will be welcomed by all lovers and practitioners of fine needlecraft. Jane Houston-Almqvist was born in Massachusetts of Scots-Irish stock. Her studies in psychology, painting and design let to work as an occupational therapist which took her to Denmark where she became interested in traditional needlework techniques. A further period of study at Uppsala University in Sweden helped to deepen her interest in the decorative arts, particularly in textiles. She has lived in Ireland for the past fifteen years and her skill in embroidery has led to commissions for church work, to exhibitions of needlework and patchwork, and to teaching. She likes Ireland and has made it her permanent home.  Mountmellick Work is her first book, and was originally published by the Dolmen Press in 1985.

The bibliography and list of suppliers have been updated and enlarged, and further illustrations have been added to this second edition.


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