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Embroidering the Night Sky
The traditional Western embroidery sampler was used as a way for young women to show off their skills and mark their place in the world to be remembered. While these samplers functioned as a way to record these girls' lives, they also served as a way to show their pious devotion to God (the samplers frequently contained religious quotes and sayings) as well as an education for the maker. A young girl would learn the alphabet making her first sampler, and, later on, the sampler was used as an excuse to gather women together to learn science and math, something that was not always allowed.
These embroideries are images of the full view of the night sky from exact locations on specific dates, marking the time and place. Each location and time mark the birth of an individual, serving as a type of portrait. The night sky is a universal image, rather than a Christian psalm, and touches on the education the young girls were able to receive under the guise of creating the domestic trophy sampler.
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