Recently I got an email from a reader asking me for help in identifying the designer of this canvas. It isn’t a problem that’s unusual. We stitch canvases from our stashes, we buy canvases on eBay, at guild auctions, or even at thrift shops — and we rarely worry about who designed them.
Then we want to find a similar canvas, or we are submitting it for an exhibit. To do these things, the designer must be identified. So what is a stitcher to do?
First, examine the canvas. Does it have a designer’s name or signature in the lower right corner? These can be painted or signed in pen. An example of a pen signature is in the picture below.
You also might see a canvas number, seen on the canvas at the top of the article. The tape might have a shop name and number if the canvas is taped.
Write all these things down.
Now, take a good picture of the canvas. Most folks can’t identify a canvas with only a designer and number, though this helps. You’ll want to have a picture on hand as you search.
Are You Ready to Search?
Way back in graduate school, I learned how to do searches for difficult items. The best way to do searches is to be armed with all the information you can find. Then start with the most straightforward places to search and work through to the hardest.
The first place to check is with the store that sold the canvas. It’s likely that the shop can’t help you, but it is an easy place to start.
If that does not work, check the designer’s website. Not all designers have sites. For example, most sites do not have pictures of discontinued canvases and often they don’t have ways to search for canvases by number.
If you still don’t have an answer, you need to get the help of others. If you are on Facebook, use the needlepoint groups there to post a picture and ask if others know the designer. Often this will give you results immediately. If there are needlepoint groups on other social media platforms, you can also use these.
If all else fails, I can also help. You can contact me and I’ll do what I can to get the word out.
It’s frustrating because even with all the searching and folks looking at your canvas, you may not find the answer. Shops can help by keeping good records of the canvases they sell. Designers can be a massive help by making canvases easy to identify. If a stitcher has bought one canvas in a series, isn’t she likely to buy more? Wouldn’t it be nice to make this easy to do? Or as my reader writes, ‘I’d definitely want someone who purchased my canvas(s) to be able to easily i.d.them in the future. Seems so academic.’