Or I Shall Be Forgotten

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Another amazing day in the life of this needlework designer.

A few weeks ago, my post was all about my first antique sampler reproduction, “The Jannet Irving Sampler” and how it was instrumental in connecting and re-connecting me with another notable needleworker.

And now, out of the blue, I have learned that the original sampler featured in my third sampler reproduction, “The Roxana Corson Sampler,” will be featured in an exhibit in Cape May County, New Jersey. AND a line in that sampler is being used as the name of the exhibit: “Or I Shall Be Forgotten.”

The faithful reproduction of the antique sampler originally stitched by Roxana Corson c. 1826.

The faithful reproduction of the antique sampler originally stitched by Roxana Corson c. 1826.

 

Recently, I made a third generation copy of Roxana’s sampler in the form of a pdf file so I could continue to sell this out-of-print publication. Little did I know that hundreds of miles away, the good folks at the Museum of Cape May County were planning an exhibit of their amazing collection of 26 samplers and that Roxana Corson would be on display. I was thrilled when they contacted me. Ah, the beauty of the internet!

A photo of the original sampler as it appeared on my 1985 publication.

A photo of the original sampler as it appeared on my 1985 publication.

Making an easy-to-use chart of Roxana’s work was not so easy to accomplish. The very thing that makes this nine-year-old’s sampler charming also made it challenging. Her letters are not consistent; stitches are missing; the pronoun “I” is not capitalized; the vine in the border is irregular; the huge strawberries are irregular and some are begun and never completed; the colors and shapes of the leaves are irregular. It’s a mess! But it is a lovely, delightful mess and as the days passed by and I made a faithful copy, it became my lovely, delightful mess.

Did Roxana run out of one of the greens before finishing the letter "Y" or did she just pick up the wrong skein ... something we do in the 21st century, too!

Did Roxana run out of one of the greens before finishing the letter “Y” or did she just pick up the wrong skein … something we do in the 21st century, too!

Roxana did manage to work one motif consistently. It was more difficult than the plain strawberry so maybe she concentrated a little more.

This motif was just about the only part of the sampler that was stitched with any consistency!

This motif was just about the only part of the sampler that was stitched with any consistency!

At some point in the process of copying an original sampler, I cross the line and become the kindred spirit of the sampler maker. It has happened every time I have been through this process. I begin to wonder what Roxana was like and who she became.

One of the many things that drew me to Roxana’s sampler was the traditional verse we often associate with samplers and yet it is not as common as we might think.

When I am dead and in my grave
And all my bones are rotten
When this you see remember me
Or I shall be forgotten

It always strikes me as a tad morbid for a nine-year-old.

The classic sampler quote.

The classic sampler quote.

Doing research in 2015 is a whole different kettle of fish than it was in 1985. There was no Google. Genealogy was not online. Perhaps I’ll be able to discover more about Roxana now than we learn from her sampler: her date and place of birth and her age.

I’d like to know more about “M Cole Preceptress.” A preceptress is a woman who is a teacher, tutor, or the head of a school. Perhaps I’ll learn more when I see the exhibit because I am definitely going to see it!

As I worked on this project, I could see projects within the project. I show two adaptations on the back cover.

One option is to stitch the main part of the sampler without the border for a more primitive look.

One option is to stitch the main part of the sampler without the border for a more primitive look.

The script alphabet as a stand alone makes an interesting accent piece.

The script alphabet as a stand alone makes an interesting accent piece.

Roxana, you have NOT been forgotten!

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.

The sampler exhibit will be at the Museum of Cape May County.
They also have a Facebook Page.

And while you’re at it, you can “like” the Jean Farish Needleworks¬†Facebook page, too! This is the best place to make comments about this blog as I get way too many spammers if I allow comments here.

Ready to shop for Roxana Corson** and other JFN designs? Go to my Etsy shop!
**Available as a pdf or printed copy August 10, 2015

 

 

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