Needlepoint and embroidery: ancient traditions in Satriano, Southern Italy
In Satriano many women used to needlepoint and embroidery, technique which they learned by the nuns of the monastery which you can find at the beginning of the town.
Let’s first understand the difference between needlepoint and embroidery:
Needlepoint is a type of canvas work, a form of counted thread embroidery in which yarn is stitched through a stiff open weave canvas. Common uses include pillows and wall hangings.
Embroidery is the craft of decorating fabric or other materials using a needle to apply thread or yarn. in Italian it is translated with the word “ricamo”, which comes from the Arabic raqm (racam), which means sign, drawing. Embroidery is used to decorate table clothes, sheets and clothes. The thread used for stitching may be wool, silk, cotton or combinations, such as wool-silk blend. Plain stitches, known as tent stitches, may be worked as basketweave, continental or half cross.
The roots of needlepoint go back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians, who used small slanted stitches to sew up their canvas tents. Howard Carter, of Tutankhamen fame, found some needlepoint in the cave of a Pharaon who had lived around 1500 BC.
Thanks to a European program two years ago it was possible to learn those techniques in a workshop held by some ladies from Satriano.
Written by Sonia Simpatico – JUMP team