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Manitoba Linen

Curated Submission
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Mid-20th century
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
29 x 17
Materials & techniques
Linen, cotton; Cross-stitch
Crafts Guild of Manitoba
Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library 469.00
Handmade embroidered table linens like this were popular items in the Crafts Guild of Manitoba shop. Hundreds were sold over the years, and each one was created and donated by a guild member. This particular tablecloth has been embroidered in cross-stitch and features two mallard ducks flying over bulrushes. The production of these linens dates back to the early days of the guild, and they quickly became a signature item.
The most popular linens by far were those embroidered with the famous wheat pattern designed by acclaimed artist H. Eric Bergman in 1950. More than 1,000 pieces with this design were sold, and the pattern was produced for almost 50 years. Each piece was hand-embroidered and hemmed, and most were produced by only three women. Mrs. Porath and Mrs. Oakley, recorded only by their married names, were solely responsible for making items with the wheat pattern from the 1950s until the 1980s, when Susanne Sulkers also began producing the linens. Demand for the guild’s linens was high, and a number of pieces were presented to visiting heads of state by the Canadian government. In 1977 12 place settings were presented to the presidents of Iceland, Ghana, and Niger and to the prime ministers of New Zealand and Yugoslavia.
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