Sunday, October 6, 2013

Antique Hungarian Applique - A serendipitous find

Oh, what raptures of delight have eminated from atop my staircase this evening! I had planned on getting to my sewing all day, but the seasonal changing of the clocks to daylight-savings time has thrown me out of sorts and ruined all my good intentions. Being too restless to stitch this evening I started ratting about the chaos that is my sewing space, intending on imposing some order.

When I hauled the large brown carry bag of fabric oddments that my house-moving daughter passed to me several weeks ago I was looking forward to fondling the lovely squishy contents while working them into my stash.

But then my hand touched on this. At first appearing as a homely vintage second-hand shop find, it wasn't until I opened it out that I realised that I had stumbled upon something quite exquisite and extraordinary.
It is old (very old); the net foundation is small and fine, and the cloth is likewise soft and light. It is all hand-stitched, including the buttonholed scalloped border.

I headed straight to Encyclopaedia-de-Google in a quest to find some source information about this style of work. It appeared to my eye to be of Eastern-European influence, and it took almost half an hour of searching and re-searching using different string words to finally hit upon just the thing.

It would appear to be Hungarian Buszak (or Buszaki) work, circa 19th century. The auction site that I found states that examples of this sort of work are rare, but that aside, it really is very lovely indeed. But what has really struck me, is how "now" the design feels. I have been assiduously working on Baltimore sampler blocks for the past (I've lost count of how many) years, and this design fits right in. I could easily incorporate it into my American applique sampler and it would look right at home.

Hungarian Buszak Linen Cocktail Napkins Hand Applique Net Lace - source eBay

Antique Lace Hungarian Buszak Applique Set Deer - WorthPoint 2009
According to Google (vaguely), Buszak is either a village or a small region in Hungary (I'm having trouble sorting that one out), and there are various styles of embroidery and stitching techniques attributed to Buszak. I found a super-interesting blog at Kate & Rose, where she/they have been busy in the reproduction of traditional Buszak samplers; entirely different to the work above, and yet the influences of one upon the other are similar.

I doubt my vintage-loving daughter had any notion of the historical or intrinsic value of this lovely old textile, but it has excited me to such a great height, and I will now endeavour to see if I can more properly date it. In the meantime, I will honour it's probably long-ago passage from one side of the world to the other; a treasured heirloom, perhaps even a bride-gift. And I would give a fingernail or two to know it's true provenance.

I am all inspired, despite the clock now reading 11:35pm (although my body tells me that it is an hour earlier). If I were not so bodily tired I would go and pick up my needle again. But probably best not.

Let me know what you think of my exciting find!

Evie x x x

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