Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Marghab Embroidery

Marghab is considered to be some of the finest hand embroidery in the world. The company was founded on the Island of Madeira, Portugal, in 1933, by the husband and wife team of Emile and Vera Way Marghab. Only the finest linen from Ireland and Switzerland were used. Working with Swiss weavers, the Marghabs created a special material that Vera described as "clear, crisp, true and easy to launder". This fabric was woven exclusively for the Marghabs. They called it Margandie and it gave them a distinctiveness that was associated only with Marghab linens. The embroidery threads were from France and many of the colors used were exclusively produced for a particular design. When the linens were ready for embroidery, they were brought from the factory to the countryside homes of skilled embroideresses who were paid by the stitch! Some pieces could contain as many as eighty-five thousand stitches and could take embroideresses months to complete. It was said that more than eighty percent of the female population on the island was employed in embroidery and girls learned the art from their mothers at a very early age. There were close to three hundred pattern designs and each of them was named. The linens were sold only in Madeira or to exclusive salons selected by the Marghabs for their reputation for excellence and quality. Among these were George Jensen, in New York, Constance Leiter in Kansas City and David Jones, Ltd. in Australia. After Emile's death in 1947, Vera Way Marghab continued with the business until 1980 and demanded nothing but "perfection" from the factory work, the embroideresses and the salons they were sold in. She died in 1995 at the age of ninety-five.

Much info taken from the book "Perfection Never Less, The Vera Way Marghab Story" by D.J. Cline.


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Rose Tree

1 comment:

Karen Daley said...

I really enjoyed that post Christine, and especially loved the Delphimium design. No wonder Marghab embroidery is considered so precious with all the care that went into the craftsmanship!