Joyce Petschek's personal background is evident in her distinctive
use of technique, texture and colour as reflected in the innate
elegance of her work.
Wedding Ringbearer Cushion
Silk Threads with Glass Beads
10" x 10"
Her father was a physician and her mother a prominent Interior
Designer in NY. Their home was photographed and featured in House
Beautiful magazine. Joyce states, "In essence
my childhood home was visual with beautiful furnishings of antique
décor, very European. These colour visuals were a pleasure
in my upbringing." During her childhood years Joyce was
taught needlework, embroidery, knitting and sewing by her mother
who believed such etiquette was essential to her upbringing.
Her mother's personal love was collecting petit point purses,
mirrors etc. She also had a fine collection of framed English
beaded scenes and embroidered pictures that Joyce has inherited.
Silk and Wool Threads with Emerald Glass Beads
10.5" x 10.5"
When Joyce and her family moved to Europe, the tradition of
magazine articles continued! In 1999 the UK edition of House
and Garden photographed her Studio House in London. The resulting
four page article begins, "At the end of a secluded garden
path off a quiet London street looms a purple gypsy caravan,
bright and brash, carved and painted, as unexpected as a parrot
in a privet hedge. Tucked beside it is Joyce Petchek's studio
home, with an interior every bit as surprising as the caravan
and just as colourful." (Excerpted House and Garden, July 1999) The London Studio house is filled with threads collected
from Joyce's travels and known to her friends as the "House
Purple Gypsy Caravan
Joyce Petschek's London Studio House
The "House of Threads"
Joyce's personal love of colour became highly attuned during
her studies of Art History at Vassar, where she received her
B.A. She then attended Radcliffe, receiving her Master's Degree
in Art History. Her studies concentrated on Italian Mannerism,
paintings where strange colours are juxtaposed against each other.
Joyce comments on the inspiration for her designs, "Besides
my Art History training, for many years my interest has been
the different aspects of colour, especially the emotional, psychological
and spiritual meaning of colour. This subject in 1997 became
the text of my third published book Beautiful Bargello. Art History trained me to visual paintings in my mind, hence
my mental colour palette is extensive. Today I visualize patterns
before they are stitched."
Mahogany Domed Cushion to Display
Jewellery, Hat Pins, Tie Pins
It has never interested Joyce to use a computer for designing;
instead she stitches on the canvas itself, sometimes from pictures
in her head, sometimes from sketches in her notebook. "When
visiting Italian churches I always sketch the marble floor patterns
that appeal to my eyes. These personal notebooks are a constant
source of inspiration." Experience has taught her that colours
of threads change when they are next to one another. "An
artist friend once said to me, 'You push colours to the edge,
you put colours together that shouldn't be - but it always works!'
My threads and their colours are always chosen intuitively. In
a design if one colour stands out from the rest, I take it out
- it doesn't belong. The eye should not stop anywhere - rather
it should flow across the canvas."
Custom Designed Shoulder Strap Bag
From The Designer Collection
Finished with Italian Leather, Double Shoulder Straps and
Threads of Linen, Florentine Ribbon, Hand Over-dyed Cotton
Following college years and marriage, Joyce resided in New
York and on Fire Island with her former banker husband and three
children. During these years she began a needlework business
in NY called Sistrina, with two other partners. "We
were part of the needlework department in three Bloomingdale
stores and in Neiman Marcus, Texas. Besides these retail stores
we had private commissions from Interior Designers." This
enterprise ended when the family moved to Germany, then London.
Six Stranded Cotton, Viscose, Metallic Thread
13 3/4" x 13 3/4"
Joyce has been a Buddhist for 29 years, receiving Tibetan
Dzogchen teachings, attending discourses given by the Dalai Lama,
Rinpoches and Lamas. This pursuit reflects her choice of stitching
technique, "Bargello is the most meditative stitch technique
because it is a repetitive pattern, just as mantra is a repetitive
sound. Our mind state when stitching Bargello is similar to the
calm state when we do meditation practice." For Joyce rhythm
and repetition is the appeal of Bargello, which dates back to
the early 16th century. Known in Italy as the Florentine stitch,
in the USA it is called Bargello which covers its many varied
patterns rather than the flame (Florentine) stitch alone.
Celtic - Belt and Buckle
From The Designer Collection
In her dynamic and subtle colour palette Joyce employs every
colour but very seldom white. "White walls do not exist
in my homes; white threads are rarely used in our Beautiful Bargello
kits. Strange colour combinations appeal to me, with tonalities
always harmonizing. My point of reference remains Fine Art paintings
and antique Middle Eastern textiles."
Joyce's style continues to evolve. She remains intrigued by
both simple and complex patterns, always using a variety of fibres
for their colour and texture. This past January, her company
began something new, "We started the BARGELLO PATCHWORK
CLUB to encourage stitchers to learn the BARGELLO technique."
Each month Joyce designs a new pattern often with threads, coming
from all over the world. Membership includes a newsletter that
is friendly, informative and fun. To date the membership includes
the UK, USA, Alaska, Italy and the club is gathering enthusiastic
new members each day! Joyce says, "I just love it! It permits
me to be experimental on a small scale, very adventurous. But
I always remain aware that these colour combinations must later
work as a whole - when members make them into cushions, handbags,
wall hangings. The challenge of variety appeals to me. This new
style feels like 'sketches' and who knows 'what' comes next!"
THE BEAUTIFUL BARGELLO PATCHWORK CLUB
January through April, 2002
Two other long time interests continue to absorb Joyce's energy
and time. These are researching and writing books and lecturing
on Dreams. Three books have been published to date - The
Silver Bird, Silver Dreams and Beautiful Bargello. The first two are out-of-print, while the last of the English
edition of Beautiful Bargello, bought by Joyce's
company, today are sold only as signed copies. A new needlework
book is scheduled for the fall of 2003.
Besides her intense passion for needlework, Joyce has also
studied and lectured on Dreams since 1973. Joyce explains, "Again,
my personal 'technicolour' dreams are yet another source of colour
inspiration, not dissimilar from my inspiration from films, theatre,
opera, museum exhibitions, galleries - all these influence my
Cushion Scented with Essential Oils
8" x 8"
Joyce's choice of threads is integral to her work. About the
Caron fibres she says, "The Caron threads are one of the
finest collection I knowThe quality of threads and range of colour
tones is important to me. In the Caron Collection it is rare
for me not find the tonality my mind's eye is seeking. The Caron
Collection dyes are consistent; they do not change when stitching.
This assures high quality to my work."
Pewter Purse with Metallic Threads
Fortunately Joyce enjoys promoting her designing talents.
She lectures, exhibits and sells her work enthusiastically. It
was following the publication of Beautiful Bargello that she decided to return to the creative/commercial field of
needlework. Her company Beautiful Bargello Ltd began four years ago and, though based in the UK, distributes
kits worldwide. Their wonderful Bargello tapestry kits contain
everything - ready to be stitched.
Harlequin Eyeglass/Mobile Phone Case
Joyce's newest designs are more personal items, rather than
cushions for the home. About these she states, "What pleases
me are our new scented FRAGRANCE cushions, our PATCHWORK CLUB
and our fabulous shoulder strap bags. The Wedding ring cushions,
with new colours added, have not only been chosen for weddings
but have been chosen to enhance one's bed! We have also started
a very exquisite DESIGNER'S COLLECTION where the stitched pieces
are made into leather handbags and belts in Italy. Specific designs
belong to this Designer's Collection only."
Cushion Scented with Essential Oils
8" x 8"
Teaching and lecturing remain on Joyce's upcoming agenda.
For the future she is considering arranging weeklong stitching
retreats, perhaps in Italy or Scotland. If you've never tried
Bargello, you're really in for a treat! With Joyce at the helm
- well - the possibilities are limitless!" Until then, why
not start with a Beautiful Bargello kit!
Be sure to stay tuned for next month's intriguing purse project,
designed and taught by Joyce!
Beautiful Bargello Global, Ltd.
10A Girdlers Road
T: +44 (0) 20 7371 4427
Classic Stitches -- Issue No: 47
House & Garden--Issue July 1999
Be sure to come back next month for an Online Class featuring a Stunning
Purse, designed and taught by Joyce!
The BARGELLO PATCHWORK CLUB presents the ideal opportunity
to learn this wonderful technique stitching small Bargello squares.
For just $11.50 per month you will receive a different 4 1/2"
square pattern using selected threads chosen from all over the
world. Your patchwork pieces can later be made into square or
oblong cushions, travel bags, purses what ever you like!
It's easy to subscribe directly from the website listed above!
To encourage new members, the club adds a another incentive:
for every 10 new members you enlist, you may choose a gift of
one of the following - Joyce's way of saying "thank you:"
. a $72.00 cheque made out to you.
. a free 6-month subscription to the Bargello Patchwork Club.
. a Beautiful Bargello kit to the value of $72.00