Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Banners from the National Cathedral

This last October Mr. CS and I met our son from Connecticut and visited Washington, DC. Mr. CS especially wanted to see the Smithsonian museums, as he had never visited our nation's capital. Wait, you say, wasn't that during the government shutdown? Right you are! This was certainly an ill-timed visit. Luckily, there were several very interesting places that were still open. One of which was Washington National Cathedral, which has quite a bit of very lovely embroideries. In this post I'll show you the photos we took of the various banners.

We couldn't get up too close to them, and I don't have any information as to fabrics, threads, techniques, etc.

The ground fabrics do seem to be silk, judging from the sheen and general, well, "silkiness" of the fabric. There is definitely some appliqué and certainly a fair bit of gold work.

This is the poorest shot and was taken from furthest away from the actual banner. But I love the gold work, and the complicated cross that is on the bottom portion of all the banners. I'm sure there is a name to it and the significance is explained somewhere, and I'll look it up and share it with you. Some of you may know, so if you do, please drop me a line.

At this point I would like to draw your attention to the blog written by Ruth O'Leary of Ruth O'Leary Textile Arts. Back in early 2012, Ruth completed work on a commissioned piece, St. Cuthbert's Banner for the Durham Cathedral in Durham, UK. If you click on this link you will see St. Cuthbert's Banner in the upper left hand corner of the photograph. Now she is working on another banner, this time for the Druids!  Ruth does lovely gold  work, appliqué and general embroidery, and I encourage you to visit her site by clicking on this link.

Washington National Cathedral is open most days to visitors, although not today as they are expecting a snowstorm in the area. They even have a needlework Tour and Tea, which showcases all the needlework pieces on display. Virtually all of the seats have needlework cushions, and I'll show you some of those in an upcoming post.


  1. Niesamowita praca , gratuluję.

  2. A needlework tour followed by tea sounds a great idea! I already know of Ruth's site and followed her work on St Cuthbert's Banner, which was lovely to see!

  3. Even though we are north of the 49th, my husband and I have, for a very long time, wanted to make the pilgrimage to the Smithsonian. Thanks for the enticing photos. It will happen one of these years. Thanks also for the link to Ruth O'Leary.

  4. Thanks Cynthia! And thanks for the post, too - it's fascinating to see the banners, and I'll be having a good long look at your photos to see how things are done.


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