Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  

Joyce Petschek of Beautiful Bargello Ltd. in London, England

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.

Jewels Cushion
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 of Threads."

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
Six-Stranded Cotton

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 Trim
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.

Harmony Cushion
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!"

Sample Projects
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 designs."

Fragrance/Dreams Cushion
Cushion Scented with Essential Oils
Silk Threads
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
Metallic Threads

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."

Fragrance/Intuition Cushion
Cushion Scented with Essential Oils
Silk Threads
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!

Joyce Petschek
Beautiful Bargello Global, Ltd.
10A Girdlers Road
W14 0PU

T: +44 (0) 20 7371 4427
E: joyce@beautifulbargello.com

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

© 2001 The Caron Collection / Voice: (203) 381-9999, Fax: 203 381-9003

CARON email: mail@caron-net.com