Joyce’s awareness of colour and its symbols began with academic studies at Vassar College, completing her Bachelor of Arts in Art History, later her Masters in Fine Arts at Harvard University. After her initial visual arts training, Joyce explored the dream world through researching paintings by surreal artists and fairy-tale illustrations. This study culminated in her first illustrated book, The Silver Bird, published in 1991 by Celestial Arts, USA, followed by a Dream Lecture series held at the Groucho Club, London.
Her extensive art slide collection became innovative lectures, including dream explanations and the symbolism of colour. This knowledge of colour formed her needlework book Beautiful Bargello published in 1997 by Collins and Brown, UK and the Book of the Month Club, USA, followed by a French edition.
Besides her passion for bargello, of paramount importance to Joyce Petschek are the Tibetan teachings she has received since 1975 from Dzogchen masters, including meditation practises which further developed her intuitive gifts. However, It was through bargello stitching that she realized its unique rhythm of repetitive patterns resonated closely with meditation. Today, through combining stitching and silence, she integrates her spiritual meditation practises and esoteric knowledge, receiving personal visions of patterns and intense colour combinations, colour and designs from her sixth sense.
For Joyce bargello is more than a sophisticated tradition of subtle geometrics and abstract designs. Rather it is about unseen vibrations that emanate from her colour palette and thread combinations – enhancing our environment and stimulating our unconscious to develop creative ideas.
Today her passion is expressed in two directions.
Through Bargello Arts she creates elaborate and innovative designs for wall textiles and furniture coverings, concentrating on public and private commissions. Through Bargello Breaks she offers Stitching Retreats in her Tuscan home in Italy, dedicated to guiding participants to experiment and expand their personal creativity.
The American Museum in Britain have confirmed an exhibition by JOYCE PETSCHEK of my BARGELLO ARTS COLLECTION, works designed & hand stitched by me, from March to October 2017. Exhibited will be my current wall textiles, covered furniture, framed designs, ‘doctor’s handbags’, computer covers, oversized cushions, bolsters etc. My BARGELLO ARTS COLLECTION will be placed throughout Claverton Manor House, perfectly showing the “past and present” in harmony, sharing and continuing the extensive craft of Decorative Arts.
Being an American living in England and Italy since 1973, the American Museum near Bath is like “visiting a home away from home”. Its splendid Decorative Arts collection fills me with awesome respect for its two American co-founders. In the 54 years since its beginning, the museum exhibitions have been timely and current in interest, much appreciated by visitors interested in both American and English cultures.
Respecting its European origins, Americans have always admired the Bargello stitching technique. My passion for stitching this needlepoint style began in New York in the 1960’s. Its craze blended with the Op Art of the art scene, so much in vogue then. An unexpected move to Europe in 1968 introduced me to its 16th century Italian origins, a completely different rhythm in style and concept than was known in New York. To my surprise the great Italian tapestries were to be found in English museums and stately English manor houses, traveling Englishmen having brought them back from Italy.
Since then my Bargello textile art has expanded into designs “breaking the pattern”, an amalgamation of cultural influences with my personal philosophy. Stitching primarily with silk threads collected from all over the world, included will be a display of silk threads for others to view, threads particularly used in my designs. More detailed information of other happenings to be announced closer to the exhibition, the dates “March to October 2017”, an exciting event for your diary.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN MUSEUM
Bargello Arts represents the collection of Joyce Petschek’s works, for which she is a Sole Trader, specializing in hand stitched needlework textiles. When she closed her former business, Beautiful Bargello Ltd, the Bargello Arts collection began. In “changing her pattern” she opened herself to surprising directions for her needlework talent, expanding her imagination into unknown areas.
Joyce Petschek dedicated her time to developing her own personal creativity, using only silk threads, as well as starting a charitable project, NeedleArts for Nazareth House. No longer interested in using her thread collection of solid and variegated wools, solid and variegated cottons, camel, cashmere etc,, these materials became the foundation for this charitable project, teaching the bargello technique to nuns, residents and guests.
Her new motto was “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” Accepting this challenge, she began creating unconventional designs with vivid colours and fluid patterns, outrageous in size and concept. Her first wall textile used a palette of forty-four different silk threads and took five months to complete.
Today Joyce Petschek is known as an exclusive, multi-faceted needlework designer. Her talents have designed and stitched large wall textiles that have spiritual content emanating from their chosen colours and symbolic patterns. Her private quest is exploring and expanding the bargello needlework technique, seeking original and innovative directions that reflect vision and inspiration. Fascinated by the diversity of William Morris and his Arts & Crafts movement, she was pleased to be elected a member of the Art Workers Guild that William Morris founded.
In present time the collection of Bargello Arts specializes in distinctive works of needlework textile art for exhibition and purchase, including public and private commissions for furniture coverings. It provides inspirational, contemporary designs of the highest quality, each piece renowned for its excellence and distinction, finished to exceptional standards. Her distinctive textile art integrates vivid colours and exceptional patterns, some works taking four to five months to complete. Joyce Petschek’s intent is to continually “break the pattern” in both her personal life and artistic career, creating only artistic works that are unusual, exceptional, inspiring.
Joyce Petschek’s intuitive imagination, highly developed colour sense and personal philosophy bring needlework textile designs into the 21st century. Aware that design language evokes history, symbols, craftsmanship, her imaginative textiles are innovative and intense. Her reputation is one of excellence, originality and inventiveness.
Conscious that traditional bargello patterns are geometric in style, Joyce Petschek purposely alters these repetitive patterns, “breaking the pattern”, reflecting her own philosophy that is dedicated to “changing pattern”. This personal aspiration mirrors her belief that we need to alter patterns in our lives, our environment, our relationships to others. Her intent is that her designs reflect an integration of cultures and are thought provoking for all.
All her designs have meaning. Her stitched patterns are purposely meditative, motivating the mind to float into distant thoughts and spaces. Her designs take one through journeys within oneself and through limitless time. Mindful that beautiful objects expand one’s quality of life, Joyce Petschek’s stitched textiles affect one’s visual pleasure and enhance one’s environment.
Selecting silk threads of many varieties, her designs are 100% hand stitched, artistically inspired, never computer generated. Her stitching is purposely a collaboration of pattern and texture, incorporating various types of silks for their effect. She considers herself to be “painting with threads”, her thread palette being that of an artist, blending together colour tones for design, intuition, style. As an artist friend said, “You put colours together that shouldn’t be, and they work.” Consciously Joyce Petschek re-interprets the traditional bargello technique in a contemporary way, concerned that textile design be considered an art form.
To visit the London Studio is to understand Joyce Petschek’s textile art. It is a mélange of the unexpected, a miniature museum, a surprise, an immersion into a world of many cultures and concepts. Its visual delights overwhelm the senses, its sophistication eludes the practical. This Aladdin’s cave assaults the mind with outrageous creativity that takes months to complete and represents profound patience with awesome perception.
Immersed in this interior that is passionate about colour, one enters an extraordinary world of visual delights and needlework creativity. There are glossy reels of thread from the deepest vermillion to the most intense cobalt blue, along side glittering glass beads sewn on cords, all displayed on open shelves to view and touch, a veritable bombardment of colours.
Besides this extraordinary mix, the Bargello Arts stitched furniture pieces and wall textiles match the volley of colours. As well as being visually exciting, their stitched designs are elusive. They evoke hidden memories, a feeling that another level exists beneath their extravagant colours and shimmering silks. Intentionally they incite and inspire one’s personal thoughts and imagination.
As well, for Bargello Arts the London Studio is practical in its purpose. Its considerable over-sized Italian inlaid mahogany table often disappears beneath swatches of fabrics and silk skeins of matching thread, all work in progress for bespoke designs. The silk thread collection, whether gathered from travels or temptations, represents twenty years of passion for colour and texture. It soon becomes clear that the London Studio concerns itself with new concepts and creativity, needlework activity, project development, lectures and learning. It is truly a creative environment to inspire both quality and ‘questioning’.
Italy is where all of Joyce Petschek’s books have been written, where her inspiration for “breaking the pattern” began, where her designing and stitching have flourished. The hills of Tuscany opened a new way of life and thinking and just being, never experienced before. It became a place where she discovered an unknown part of herself. It started with listening to the birds singing at 5:00 am, seeing white sparkling fireflies dancing amongst the night trees, catching a glimpse of a porcupine with quills dashing across the road, seeing two Bambi deer in the woods.
In Tuscany her dreams began seeing patterns and unknown colour combinations. Upon awakening her style of working changed. Instead of sketching patterns first, Joyce Petschek went to her thread collection, letting her fingers (rather than her mind) choose the colours. On small canvas samples she stitched these odd thread combinations, discovering that colours changed when next to each other, that some silks shimmered, others were flat in tone. Her large round table filled with these small samples, her understanding of silks altered.
Italy from the beginning became her place for experimenting and daring. Here her projects expanded into, stitching textiles for antique Italian chairs, designing large wall textiles. Working in silence meant no one disturbed her or questioned what she was doing. What if it took five months to design and stitch a wall textile? She had seen it in her dreams and wanted to bring her vision into reality. Joyce Petschek was not seeking approval but rather manifestation. This is the essence of her Tuscan life.
In Tuscany Joyce Petschek designs her works for exhibitions, stitches her commissions public and private. She works on several pieces simultaneously, evoking patterns seen in her dreams, leaving them alone when she does not know ‘where they are going’, returning to them whenever the inspiration returns. She can never explain ‘what’ she is doing as each design section surprises herself, evolving into something not pre-conceived.
Somehow Joyce Petschek meets deadlines, gets her designs professionally photographed, her chairs professionally finished, her wall textiles professionally framed, everything to the highest standards. Patience and fortitude is behind these commissioned designs, otherwise consider her Bargello Arts collection of finished designs, available for purchase.
Saffron Interior Arts represents the artistic works of Joyce Petschek. Under their section “Artists” is the following text:
“Joyce Petschek is an eclectic and unique needlework textile designer, whose bespoke collection of furniture, soft furnishings, wall textiles and decorative accessories are designed and hand stitched in fine silk threads. Drawing upon an immeasurable collection of silks gathered from across the world, some pieces of Joyce’s work can comprise more than 40 different threads.
Over the past forty years Joyce has evolved her sense of interior style to create highly individual and collectible works of textile art. These are luxury heritage pieces of museum quality, bringing a new depth of design to those who cherish the unique and visually beautiful. Joyce’s unconventional textiles take you through journeys within yourself and through time and each design is imbued with meaning. The colours and fluid patterns are a design language unto themselves; studied and imaginative, yet completely innovative. Joyce’s work is a mélange of the unexpected, an immersion into a world of many cultures and colours blending the innovative with the traditional. Joyce is based in London and Italy.”
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