The craft of embroidery is alive and well at Bryn Mawr College
By Meagan Thomas
At Bryn Mawr College, the art of embroidery is a secret trend.
“I just don’t think people do it in groups” said senior Margaret O’Hare, 21, speaking to the trend. Each embroiderer seems to know a few others, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to do it collectively the way students might with knitting circles or other clubs.
“It’s harder to do in public,” said senior Beckie Bull, 21.
O’Hare said she hadn’t seen anyone collectively embroider at all.
“Except when my friends wanted to learn and I taught them,” she said. Seeing it makes other students want to try it, which O’Hare used as an opportunity to teach her friends. Most of the people she knew who embroidered have graduated, but she still sees it around.
As to why it might be less visible, Bull offered a potential reason.
“I actually once got in trouble for embroidering in a French class,” said Bull, “Because in sewing you have to look at your work and so the teacher thinks you’re not paying attention.”
If it’s hard to see, one might ask how anyone knows where to find it at all. Each embroiderer knows a few other links in the chain, like an underground network about which no one has all the information.
“I do know other people here who do embroidery,” said Bull, though she agrees that it’s not as collective.
“A supervisor at [the dining hall] would bring embroidery to our meetings,” said O’Hare of her on-campus job. It would give her something to do while she listened. There are students who brave practicing it in class. They make door signs, samplers, and other projects.
Social media is another way to spot the patterns, no pun intended.