I think of myself as an Azorean American. Though my great-grandparents emigrated to the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century my family like many others traveled back and forth to visit relatives. I was born on one of these visits to the island of Fayal. This was fortunate because I became a dual citizen of both the U.S. and Portugal. When I visit I feel like I belong.
During summer vacations my family spent time on the islands, swimming and eating and then eating and swimming. I remember the food - fresh fish and meat, vegetables and fruit all so delicious. Fresh figs and grapes, plums and pineapple ice cream. Bread was baked everyday and carried home in a cloth bag made of scraps of fabric. I can't forget this bag as it was the first time I saw a crazy quilt pattern and I spent hours trying to figure out how the scraps all fit together - there was no straight seam to be found.
The Azores is known for many types of embroideries and laces, especially Madeira embroidery. My first lessons were simple: Buttonhole, Cross stitch, Stem, Split and Straight stitch, Leaf and Satin stitch, Lazy Daisy and the very frustrating French Knot. My grandmother was delighted that I caught on so quickly and had an interest in it. My greatest regret was that I didn't have time to learn so much more. The summers passed quickly.
Dimensional Embroidery and my Azorean heritage