Joyce Petschek: Breaking the Pattern

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American-born Joyce Petschek has had a life-long passion for Bargello needlework, a beautiful flame-stitch pattern that has an extensive history. After many years creating designs for a commercial market, Joyce closed her business and began to work on her own unique compositions that allowed her to fully explore the creative potential of her ideas. The resulting canon of work is both colourful and inspiring. Her designs have moved away from the constraints of formal Bargello work as Joyce has reinvented the genre and ‘broken the pattern’.

Joyce Petschek studied as an undergraduate at Vassar College and then as a graduate at Radcliffe University and the New York Institute of Fine Art. It was here that she developed her keen eye for colour and an interest in the juxtaposition of intense colours. Joyce works exclusively with silk threads – the only material that offers the luminosity and intensity of colour that she needs for her kaleidoscopic work. The colour and the choice of threads drive each new design. The resulting works are visually arresting.

The American Museum is well-known for its textile collection and owns several examples of eighteenth-century flame-stitched objects. During our 2017 season, we are delighted to be displaying a selection of Joyce’s work throughout the Manor House, allowing our visitors to view both the old and the new alongside one another.

In addition to bold wall hangings, Joyce has a special interest in reworking antique furniture. During her travels around the world she acquires unusual and inspiring pieces that she then reworks, changing the upholstery fabrics for bold contemporary designs that coordinate beautifully with inserted needlework panels. The resulting creations are ‘out of time’; pieces that once belonged to the past are brought into the present and given new meaning by Joyce.

Joyce Petschek: Breaking the Pattern will be on display throughout the Manor House at the American Museum from March 18 until October 29 2017. It is an exciting opportunity to see this fabulous collection of work on display together for the first time in Britain.

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