Marcia's instructional courses/seminars are designed to teach and provide hands-on experience in the various needle art finishing techniques.
Course listings are divided into Basic Courses and Project Finishing Courses below.
Basic Finishing Techniques Courses
Finishing School I In the very first school, we will master 10 finishing techniques that professionalize your needlework projects. This is a notebook class and will cover the following: a small tassel, the corded tassel, ruffs, pom-poms, twisted cord application and joinery, trapunto, the ladder stitch join, the detached buttonhole loop closure, the ribbon-ruched seam and embellished needle pages. All will make your needlework projects spectacular. You will leave class with a personal reference guide with samples of all that this class represents. A must for your list of talents.
Finishing School II In the second Finishing School, students will continue to master eight more important finishing techniques to add a professional touch to their needle art projects. This notebook class features the following exercises: old-school lacing; the hem-stitched edge; three-color cords; roped cords; rouched ribbon embellishment; fringing and corner finishes. Take needle art to the next level by adding this exceptional finishing collection to your reference library.
Finishing School III In your custom-made book box you will practice lining an interior with beautiful complimentary silky moire, tufting the interior bottom, creating a silky pocket for the unique scissor case designed to coordinate with the antique wallpaper pattern. This case features a chain stitch join, a picot edge, a multi-facted bead embellishment, an overdyed silk ribbon bow and lining. A stunning addition to your stitching collection and a lovely reflection of your newly-found finishing abilities. You will be thrilled with your accomplishments!
Twisted Cord Embellishment – also available in DVD in Finishing Store A full course in making one, two and three color twisted cords. Course includes twisted cord application techniques. A hands-on course for the basics everyone needs to know about twisted cords.
Pillow Perfect – also available in DVD in Finishing Store Learn the professional techniques in constructing a knife-edge pillow including blocking, zipper application, self-welt, custom sized pillow forms, ruffles and fabric inserts. Complete demonstration of a pillow assembly. Live class is a full day course.
Three Dimensional Standing Figure – also available in DVD in Finishing Store A full course in the three-dimensional figure. Learn blocking, centering a linen or canvas design, fabric selection, construction of the flat bottom, the weight mechanism and twisted cord embellishment. Complete demonstration of a standing figure. Length: full day
Christmas Stockings – also available in DVD in Finishing Store Course includes complete blocking instructions, fabric selection, embellishments, lining and self-welt. Complete assembly demonstration of a Christmas stocking. Live class: Full Day
Exquisite Tassels – also available in DVD in Finishing Store Learn three types of tassels; the simple tassel, the double layer tassel and the skirted tassel. All materials included. Live class: Full Day
Ornament Finishing – also available in DVD in Finishing Store Choose your favorite method of mounting an ornament; the stuffed ornament, the single mountboard ornament and the double mountboard ornament. Course includes twisted cord embellishment and a complete assembly demonstration. Live class: Full Day
Finish Your Own Ornament Students come to class with their own stitched ornament, backing fabric, fibers for cords and stitching supplies. Discussion of suggested finishing techniques suitable to each student's design. Demonstration and assembly of one and two color cords included. Students will leave with a finished ornament. Live class: Full Day
Project Finishing Courses
New England Necessaire Primitive artist, Elsie Di Cassio has created yet another charming container to depict early life in New England for us. Using exceptional coordinated autumn – toned over-dyed silk fibers and silk fabrics, Marcia Brown Smith has fashioned a luxurious interior for the box making it an elegant stitcher’s companion. The box features a divided tray for scissor and needle storage with bargello roofs and silk lining, as well as a larger fiber storage section embellished with linen ribbon edging stitched with a New England quilt pattern and a central prominent glorious monogram. Each student will be assisted in creating their own monogram in class. A verse section offering an ode to the stitching artist graces the final section with a silk lining and embellished with a favorite antique button. Hidden beneath the tray is a fully lined subtle green silk interior with a tufted bottom that cradles a lovely turned wood covered container with a pin cushion top featuring a colonial motif. Antique white Cashel linen in 28-count is chosen for the ground and is stitched with crosstitch, cloud filling stitch, bargello patterns, back stitch, and satin stitch. Thread Gather Silk n’ Colors, Gloriana Silks and Gumnuts Silks from Australia are used for this design to create an extraordinary object d'art that is both elegant and useful for the needle artist. Plan to have a good deal of the box finishing accomplished in class with careful instructions and demonstrations with Marcia. With the stitches learned in class you can simply complete the stitching at your own pace in your favorite stitching niche and then apply these elements to your beautifully lined stitcher's necessaire.
Nantucket Petticoat Row While their beloved ship captains were at sea in search of whale oil, the women of New England became industrious and enterprising by opening businesses along the busy waterfronts. These women created domestic commerce to sustain their families while their valiant seamen were at sea and the store fronts became known as Petticoat Row. To commemorate these women, the Nantucket Petticoat Row is created on 32 count linen using the finest silks and overdyes from Gloriana and Thread Gatherer to represent the charming cobblestone Main Street, the gay variety of storefronts, the busy docks and the bustling ship’s chandlery and the local provisioner. The elevated docks make one feel as though the tides are lapping at the pilings waiting for the next ship’s arrival. The classic Main Street landmark, the Abiah Folger Franklin fountain which is festooned with flowers all summer greet visitors with a riot of stitched flowers. Two ships wait to offload their cargo of oil barrels and reprovision for their next trip to sea. The many textures of this project require a broad variety of stitches such as the Scotch, the wave stitch, herringbone, gobelin, spider, cross and satin and more on Zweigart 32-ct. seafoam linen. Widow’s walks atop the busy storefront buildings with their cascading flower boxes allow the waiting mistresses to gaze out to sea anticipating the arrival of their Captains and seamen. These elements are appropriately presented in a handsome 8 x 8” Nantucket basket. All stitching and finishing steps will be carefully demonstrated and applied in class with Marcia.
Chrysanthemums in Autumn Chrysanthemums in Autumn is a collaborative creation between painter, Elsie DiCassio and Marcia Brown Smith. The beautiful hand-painted oval box was inspired by a unique scrimshaw box on exhibit at the Boston Society Museum in Boston. It features a graceful chrysanthemum garland trailing around the box exterior which Elsie recreated in paint for us. The painted lid depicts a colonial settlement in Autumn over a spray of chrysanthemums. The box interior features a reproduction of the painted design in needleart on 32-ct. antique white linen using rich Autumn-toned silks and flosses by Gloriana and Weeks Dye Works. These chrysanthemums sit atop the lids of two constructed inner compartments on either side of a handsome scissor channel. Luscious checked and coordinated check/stripe silks are used for the linings and scissor channel.
Silken Shell Never is there a more aqueous treasure than this perfectly polished, hinged creamy peach shell case filled with luscious peach silk baby moiré. Inside a thimble nestles within a diminutive stitched linen ribbon band encrusted with pearls from the sea with a cushion of Doctor’s wool for needle storage. Outside, the gold clasp is embellished with a magnificent watery moiré ribbon with picot edge in shades of lavender and peach. A perfect stitching accoutrement for any stitching mermaid.
1800’s House Workbox Elsie Di Cassio captures a packet ship under full sail passing the 1800’s House in Nantucket. Painted in primitive New England style, the scene graces the lid with hand-grained sides creating a collectible oval painted papier mache box perfect for stitching accessories. Marcia Brown Smith has reproduced in needle art Elsie’s painted scene to grace the interior bottom of the box. Rich shades of greens and blues collide in a stria silk to finish the luxurious box interior. The stitched design is completed on 32 count off-white linen using over-dyed silks, Gloriana silk and floss using queen, cross over one and two, back stitch, filling stitches, blackwork and darning patterns. A masterful object d’art depicting the glorious sailing days of Nantucket with a Mariner's Verse tucked into the lid taken from a Maritime sampler stitched by Elizabeth Murphy in 1799.
1800’s House Workbox Accessories A sailor’s ditty bag complete with the Captain’s ports of call in 32-count linen and Gloriana silks is the ideal addition to the 1800’s House Workbox and a suitable housing for stitching tools while out on the sea whaling. The ditty bag is stitched in shades of ocean blue and green with a crest in deep scarlet and gold metallic featuring the ship’s name and date of sail. Whale tails frolic near the hallmark overseen by a sleepy lobster, ports of call and record of the whale oil haul. Gracing the upper edge of the bag is a stitchable linen ribbon with ocean waves pattern and an eyelet and cord closure. The bag will hang from a sailor’s tape loop. In addition, a charming snail is stitched and fitted into its own unique shell housing to create a perfect cushion for precious pin storage while under way. These accessories are created to complete the 1800’s Workbox and remind the Captain of his home port of Nantucket
May I Have This Dance? Perfect accessories for the notable Victorian lass out for an evening are the garden fan to stay cool after dancing, the dance card for recording her dance partners and the evening bag necessaire for her lip color and handkerchief. The garden fan features a French garden design with lush flowers, pathways, a pool and garden gate embellished with a flurry of silk ribbons at the top edge. This design is stitched over one on 32 ct. linen in brick, green, blue, and an array of springtime colors mounted on a custom-made turned maple handle designed to accommodate an attached hand- painted dance card booklet by artist Elsie DiCassio. The garden band evening necessaire is in silk with drawstring closure designed to hold a lipstick or compact pocket. A short presentation on the language of the fan is included. Half-day class.
Hannah Pope Putnam's Bag - Then and Now
Hannah Pope Putnam's beaded bag was created in the mid-1700's and worn to many social and milllitary engagements as well as to her own wedding. Hannah's father, General Israel Putnam, was an important military figure in the Revolutionary War, and she was the wife of Vermont Representative John Winchester Dana. Hannah's beautiful bag, done entirely in jewel-tone glass beads features traditional floral motifs - roses and bluebells- on a dep blue-green beaded background. The base of the bag is beaded in a cranberry geometric design giving substance to the design as a whole.
For today's application, this handsome design is reproduced in luscious silk jewel-tone fibers by Gloriana, J.L. Walsh and Needlepoint, Inc. on an Amsterdam Blue 28-count Cashel linen to replicate the original. However, today's lady will enjoy a slightly larger bag design adapted with a personalized back panel carrying the upper floral garland and geometric base motifs from front to back. The finished bag size is 8 x 4 x 14" and includes a pocketed silk interior.
A collaboration with Donna Harney Handbags enables each student to take advantage of an exclusive offer for finishing services at a below market value unique to this project.
Nantucket Sailor Whirligigs
Inspired by carved whirligigs in Nantucket, this pair of stitched whirligigs are stitched in silks from Gloriana in a variety of
textural stitches to depict the fabrics of Colonial America during the whaling era. The front and back panels create the body and clothing of the figures and each is constructed with hand-turned maple turnings. The arms are articulated so that the paddles can spin. The figure is mounted on a turned maple stand and spindle. Each figure is taught individually. Each course is one-day in length.
Whirligig Sailor Lass
Scallop shells stitched in a variation of Spider Stitch are surrounded by a circular wave border to create the enchanting pin cushion. Gloriana silks are used on the pale blue linen with pearl embellishments to create a magical oceanic motif mounted on a base fashioned by Sudbury House. Live class: Full Day