Updated December 6, 2019.
A few years ago Mr. XStitch posited this on his blog:
Needlepoint is often overlooked as a valid embroidery medium, and looks at cross stitch with envy.
While he went on in the post to show five inspirational needlepoints, it still made me mad, really mad.
Like most people, Mr. XStitch seems to think that needlepoint is one thing only — Tent Stitch. He looks at these pieces and sees that they use fewer colors than Cross Stitch and that the larger scale of the needlepoint doesn’t allow the detail of Cross Stitch.
Therefore he finds it wanting as a medium for artistic expression.
I, for one, am tired of this extremely limited view of needlepoint. And it does not reflect well on this prominent blogger or his understanding of needlearts.
Go to a needlepoint store, look at needlepoint blogs, see what people pin and post of their completed needlepoint. Even the little piece pictured here uses multiple threads, many stitches, and embellishments. How many of the pieces he features in his blog, whether needlepoint or cross stitch, can say the same thing?
What do you see? A wealth of threads and fibers. Exploration of new media in their work. Incorporation of found objects and embellishments. The use of many, many stitches (even by beginners). Original work and customization of commercial pieces.
In fact, on any given day, I see just as much creativity by the average needlepointer as I do in the Art School-educated hipster embroiderer often showcased on his blog. Just as much and probably more.
But do we get the respect as fiber artists we deserve?
The hipster stitcher thinks needlepoint is something aging Baby Boomers or their grandmothers do. They think that it isn’t a valid medium for artistic expression. They think it’s only Tent Stitch. They think we just paint by numbers.
This is changing (see this article) but misunderstanding needlepoint is still rampant. In fact many don’t know the difference between cross stitch and needlepoint and promote as “needlepoint” very basic cross stitch pieces.
And it’s just not true. In fact artists I run into are astonished at the creativity of needlepoint. Without the blinders of what is hip and fashionable, they can see valid artistic expression and wonderful possibilities in what we do.
This attitude about needlepoint is not helping us. What should we do about it?