Bedroom Bellpull by Gail Sirna

This bellpull was designed and stitched for the 6th step on the Master Craftsman program in 1979. I was in only the second “graduating class” for this achievement program which had been established by EGA about 4 years before.

The piece is worked mainly in Au Ver a Soie Soie d’Alger, Kreinik metallics, and a rayon thread called El Molino, which was discontinued long ago. (It fades terribly). The theme I wished to express were the elements in which mankind lives: the air represented by the butterfly, the earth expressed by the rose, and the sea represented by the shells. In between are four square panels worked in stitches and techniques which were considered innovative at the time. Notice the trianglepoint just above the shells; a whole book had been written about trianglepoint and I wanted to try it out.

The color scheme was very trendy in that era (when we were escaping from the avocado and gold trends), and we had decorated our bedroom in it. The mauve was quite popular both in interior design and in fashion. And taupe was a good neutral which blended well with the purply pink of the mauve.

In the three pictorial panels I have appliqued the most prominent elements: the butterfly, the rose, plus the sea urchin and the long shell in the foreground. Applique was a technique that was introduced probably to every EGA chapter in the country, and at the time was considered quite advanced.

I submitted this piece to the EGA judging panel, which was chaired by the formidable and highly regarded Muriel Baker. When it was returned to me the only comment was “Beautiful piece.” And it was signed “Muriel.” Things were simpler then.

The Bedroom Bellpull is rarely seen by anyone other than my husband and me—and the cleaning woman. It hangs in an upstairs bedroom, between the mirrors over my dresser. And it still pleases me.