Atlantic to the banks of the Rhine River in Germany for our Designer
By Rita Vainius
Duisburg, Germany, Martina Weber's hometown,
is situated on the banks of the Rhine River, a wonderfully green
and romantic setting. Her grandfather made his livelihood as
a master upholsterer, and Martina's early exposure to his work
and the tools of his trade have had a profound influence on her.
She acknowledges him for imbuing her with a love for fine fabrics
and the appreciation of fine hand craftsmanship. (Click here
for Martina's FREE pattern.)
At the gymnasium (high-school) Martina attended, classes in "home-making"
and "feminine crafts"(sewing, cooking etc.) were taught
as part of the regular curriculum. The needlework skills were
taught by an elderly nun, Sister Ruth, who carried a very sharp
pair of scissors. When the work was not as tidy on the "back"
as it should be, she just took out those "mean, old scissors
and snip-snip, cut open the offending rows of stitches."
Martina rapidly learned to do the work flawlessly!
After completing her university studies and
working as a computer assistant at a library, Martina married
Michael Weber, a computer networks technician. When their daughter,
Manuela, was born in 1989, Martina settled into being an at-home
mom. Thanks to that welcome hiatus from the usual work-day grind,
Martina had opportunity to discover her "real profession"
honing her embroidery skills and developing her talent for embroidery
design. With Michael's computer savvy, this hobby developed into
a career much sooner than would ever have been possible otherwise.
It was Michael who found the RCTN (recreation,
crafts, textiles, needlework discussion group) on the Internet.
Through this group Martina "met" friends with similar
interests from all over the world, was exposed to exciting new
ideas and became aware of the bounty of threads, fabrics, beads
and other products available to stitchers, many of which she
had never seen before. Case in point: The Caron Collection, which
has become an indispensable mainstay of her thread inventory.
After visiting her first professional needlework
exhibition in Maastricht, Netherlands, Martina had a brainstorm:
why not go into business selling her own designs? With Michael's
encouragement, Martina traveled from shop to shop and got enthusiastic
receptions. She then submitted her designs to a German magazine
"Creative Nadewelt" (Creative Needleworld) and some
were immediately accepted. One magazine printed an article she
wrote on Chinese double-sided embroidery (thank you Sister Ruth!),
illustrated with her designs of blooming peach blossoms and a
butterfly as examples. Martina has several cross stitch designs
of scarecrows which will be published in "Anna" sometime
Because Martina so enjoys change and experimentation, her designs
cannot be strictly categorized. They range from subtle and subdued
in theme, texture and tone to sharp, bright, colorful patterns
with brilliant sparkles and a very festive flair. She favors
finely detailed work which integrates luxurious silk threads
and beads, embroidered on fine linen. Designs in this style were
among the first that she marketed under her company name, "Chatelaine,"
a series depicting the four seasons using Caron threads, embellished
with beads. "Flamingo Elegance," her newest design
to be launched, employs the Caron "Flamingo" threads
from the Waterlilies Collection. Martina's "Country Kitchen"
designs, consisting of cross stitch patterns highlighting brightly
colored settings, is executed in "picture-book" style,
which radiates a naive, fresh quality. These contrast with a
more formal series featuring elegant ladies attired in period
costume amid charming antique settings. This design collection
will be launched in the near future, but on our website, you
are being treated to a preview.
Martina's designs can evolve just from
sitting in her garden, watching the play of sunlight on the colors
and textures of the trees and flowers mingling into each other.
Fleeting impressions of shapes and colors as revealed in sunsets
or cloud formations also feed her fertile imagination. Vacations,
though infrequent, are an invigorating fount for fresh themes.
Having returned recently from a holiday in Austria, Martina's
mind is filled with images of lofty snow-capped mountain peaks
and lavishly blooming meadows teaming with wildflowers.
series showcasing flowers done in silk ribbon is the direct outgrowth
of Martina's other passion: painting on white porcelain. She
loves to work on this pristine surface with flower motifs as
represented in the "Meissen Manier"tradition (an18th
century style of painting flowers and animals), using fine brushwork
on miniature platines to be worn as brooches and pendants or
working in larger format to decorate vases, plates and cups.
It is always a gamble, that the heat level required to fire these
pieces in the kiln, will not crack these fragile artifacts, after
dozens of hours have been devoted to creating a still life vignette.
At least, there is no such inherent risk in devoting time to
her embroidery projects!
Martina adopted her business name to express her intense passion
for needlework and her admiration for the antique "chatelaines"
that were worn at the waistline by medieval women working on
their tapestries. Chatelaine, in this sense, refers to a sort
of brooch of metal (usually silver), with a fine link chain which
held the essential needleworker's tools: scissors, needle case,
thimble etc. Chatelaine could also denote the mistress of the
Castle, from the French word for castle, chateau, as well as
the bundle of tools or keys she kept at her waist, fastened with
Having inherited from her grandfather a trunk-full of vintage
fabrics and old silk scarves, Martina is just itching to incorporate
these into a crazy quilt. In conjunction with these textiles,
Martina visualizes using the Caron overdyed threads and ribbons
to adorn and accentuate these fabrics with exquisite embroidery.
Martina's master plan is to create a magnificent one-of-a-kind
family heirloom that she hopes will represent her legacy and
also serve as an inspiration to future generations of her family.
At age 9, Manuela is not too keen on stitching. It seems she
has inherited more of her dad's interests, as a math whiz!
Martina sees no end to her wonderful creative
journey. Each new day brings new ideas and each day is too short
to make use of all the different possibilities for self-expression.
As she sees it, there is no choice except to try to live as long
as possible so as to make as many dreams as possible come true.
She thinks maybe 150 years might do it, and then again....
Martina Weber's designs are marketed under her company name of
Chatelaine and are sold to retail shops through her distributors.
Her distributor in the USA is Jean Dittrich, Potpourri etc.,
209 Richmond Street, El Segundo, Ca. 90245 Phone: (310) 322-
8512 Fax: (310) 322 -0187 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For countries where Martina has no distributor, she will sell
her designs directly. Contact her by e mail: email@example.com or through her website: http://www.chatelaine.net
Note: All designs shown remain the exclusive property of the
designer and are protected as such under International copyright