Tuesday, July 09, 2013

History for Stitchers: Small Booklets on Mary, Queen of Scots, and Bess of Hardwick

DH has been busy, very busy indeed. He has been at work writing short booklets on the lives ofMary, Queen of Scots, and Bess of Hardwick and finally they are finished! Essentially the booklets are small histories for stitchers and they place the lives and needlework of these women into historical perspective.

Now, whenever I am faced with studying history, I always think of Jane Austen's memorable quote on the pursuit:

"The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all."

And when DH started writing his booklets, I reminded him of that quote. Often. And unlike husbands who sometimes tune out their wives, I am pleased to say that DH heard me.

What I've enjoyed most about DH's two small booklets is that they pay attention to Jane Austen's lament: there's only one war mentioned briefly, no pestilences and the booklets are all about women: Mary, Bess, the Grey family and others. They are also about needlework in its historical context.

So are there 'men all so good for nothing'' in DH's booklets'? That you will have to decide for yourself.

I confess, I love DH's small booklets, but then I would hardly be an unbiased critic, would I. DH is a careful scholar, he writes very well, and the booklets are both readable and charming little histories.

In recent years, DH has been Queendom Website's head shipping clerk and bookkeeper, but before he accepted those positions,  his career was as a history professor. Although Elizabethan England was not his specialty, he is well grounded in Renaissance and Reformation studies as all those years ago they were among of his doctoral fields and he has always had a keen interest.

As I started stitching my portraits of Elizabeth 1, Mary and Bess, DH started reading on the period. I stitched and he read for the better part of a couple of years and when I taught my Elizabeth portrait for Shining Needle Society, DH wrote a series of short history lessons on Elizabeth.

As I've sold kits for my miniatures of Mary and Bess, people who had taken my Elizabeth class asked if DH would do some history lessons to accompany Mary and Bess also, and he said yes.

I had expected he would finish the booklets by May when I mailed the last of my Mary and Bess kits, but life got in the way and it has taken till July. Now as of two days ago the booklets are on my website and I am proud of them. They make perfect little companions for my Mary and Bess projects.

In their honor and also in honor of the inspiration that needlework brings to my life, I have opted for a summer of 'History and Inspiration' and how the two are intertwined.

I hope you will join MacSoph and me for our summer activities on www.GayAnnRogers.com

Gay Ann

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