I was very excited about many of the trends I saw continuing and emerging at the Dallas Needlepoint Market. This article will talk about them.
Larger Mesh Sizes
This trend has been going on for awhile and is continuing to grow in popularity. It used to be that the thinking was that 18 mesh was the preferred mesh, no matter how detailed the design was.
That is not necessarily good because not every design needs the amount of detail possible on 18-mesh canvas.
13 mesh is growing in popularity for a couple of reasons. Experienced stitchers are getting older and like that 13 mesh is easier to see. Younger stitchers are new and like that 13 mesh is faster to stitch.
With all parts of the market embracing this mesh, you’ll be seeing more of it.
Remember the Ladies
There are an increasing number of designers creating canvases that feature women in all different styles. Yes there have long been canvases that have women, often cartoony in style, but this is different.
Today you see the quirky ladies, ladies in humrous canvases as well as elegant and romantic ladies. Penny Macleod’s ladies are quirky and immediately recognizable. There are so many different poses and styles that they can suit anyone.
Both The Meredith Collection and Otto Aguiar from Purple Palm have large canvases that feature elegant ladies, often with an Art Deco or 1920’s feel. For more romantic ladies I can think of no better example than Sandra Gilmore’s lovely Lady Liberty on her Fourth of July round.
But these designers don’t exhaust all the women you’ll see on needlepoint canvases today. From Purple Palm’s Ladies that echo the Abbey Road cover to Melissa Shirley’s elegant witches, you’ll find plenty of canvases featuring women and ladies.
A Groovy Thing Going
I have a pet theory. It’s that as the Baby Boomers (those born from 1945 to 1964) age, their sheer numbers change the world around them. As children in the 50’s and 60’s we sparked a huge increase in the number and kinds of toys out there. As young people in the late 60’s and 70’s, we brought in blue jeans as normal apparel, embraced changes in TV, music, fashion, food, and concern for the environment. Many thing we consider normal today, from mini skirts to Coastal Clean-up Days, owe their start to this period.
Now, as Boomers age, we are seeing their effect again. There are cable TV stations that provide us with blasts from the past of everything from game shows to news. It’s fueled by nostalgia and we see this in needlepoint as well (and it will continue to grow).
There are plenty of canvases that directly address this feeling from JP’s new VW buses to Purple Palm’s Woodstock and Abbey Road canvases.
You can also find the effect of this on the color palettes we see on so many canvases. One is the rainbow palette seen on canvases such as the rainbow hamsa hand from JulieMar and the Kate Dickenson Andy Warhol version of her weed belt. This multi-color palette is brighter and has more colors than has been true in the recent past. Another great use of rainbow palettes in in JP’s multiple animal canvaes. With dogs, cats, and owls as well as other designs, these will be such fun to stitch. You’ll see lots more of this in the future.
You are also seeing nostalgic color palettes. Raymond Crawford and Shelly Trubbey are masters at this. When I consider retro color schemes I often think of Shelly’s Christmas trees with lots of turquoise and red, or Raymond’s wonderful new ornaments with bright pastels.
Raymond also does a wonderful job of creating canvases that use vintage ideas and items in a way that’s fresh. I love ideas such as his choirsters that look angelic until you look closely, or his new series of NOEL in letters with elves. You also see this nostalgia with a twist in designs based on mid-Century folk art such as the ‘mod birds” from Eye Candy. This style is popular again and the designer freshens it with a newer palette. This gives us the great style without tons of dated Avocado Green and Harvest Gold.
The period from the mid-50’s to the mid-70’s was a rich one for design. Designs using this rich resource and making it look fresh create designs that will appeal to the Boomers’ nostalgia while creating something different for younger stitchers.
This market, more than most, showed us what needlepoint design will look like in the future because so many trends looked both at the needs and tastes of the core needlepoint market, Boomers, while being relevant to the younger market of Millennials. For too long needlepoint has tended to ignore the young, just as knitting once did.
It’s a bad thing for any craft to look like “something my Grandmother did.” With today’s colors, the emphasis on larger mesh canvases, and updated looks at vintage and retro images and designs, we have a great combination that will move needlepoint forward.