December 2, 2013

Make a Theorem Painting

by Brandon Marie Miller

Many years ago a friend gave me a small theorem painting for Christmas. I loved the folk art style and richness of the colors on plain white velvet. If you enjoy creating your own gifts this time of year, give theorem painting a try. The art form uses a series of stencils to paint a picture on fabric.
Theorem painting, along with painting china and decorative embroidery, was popular with genteel young ladies of the past. Subjects often included fruits and flowers.

Thomas Jefferson included decorative arts in the weekly schedule of his daughters. Alongside French, writing, and reading the Jefferson girls spent hours learning to dance and draw and practice music. "I have placed my happiness on seeing you good and accomplished," he wrote daughter Patsy in 1783, "and no distress which this world can now bring on me could equal that of your disappointing my hopes."

I can't say whether or not theorem painting will leave you feeling accomplished, but it is fun, and you won't need to fret about disappointing Mr. Jefferson like poor Patsy did.

And as the temperatures plunge and the snow flies, may I wish everyone warm holiday wishes, health and good cheer. Thank you for sharing another year of hands-on-books!

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