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History of Brazilian Embroidery
Embroidery, in its most basic terms, has been with us since time immemorial. Over the centuries, basic stitches have evolved into the more complex and elaborate needleworks we know today. Embroidery of any kind uses stitches known and used for hundreds of years in countless ways and for many different purposes. Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery is no exception. The difference is that it doesn't limit itself to specific stitches: it uses stitches from all types of needlework. Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery is a style of embroidering where you can choose from the whole palette of stitches and knots you know.
Another difference in this style of embroidery is the thread. Rayon was introduced in the mid 1800's and by the turn the century, was the first man-made fiber in full production. Although it is man-made, rayon is not a synthetic fiber but regenerated natural fiber (cellulosic material, generally wood pulp). Rayon has long been the preferred thread for this style of embroidery because of its sheen and smoothness. Most stitches, especially bullions (which are used extensively for their dimensional effect), are much easier to make because of the thread's smooth texture.
Now we come to the question if the stitches aren't Brazilian and rayon isn't Brazilian, what does Brazil have to do with Brazilian embroidery? Well, many times throughout history, credit goes not to the inventor, but to the ones who popularize an item. Brazil started producing multicolored rayon threads in several weights. The popularity of the thread spread rapidly throughout Brazil to the point where variegated rayon embroidery became know as vari-cor embroidery. It wasn't long before the rest of the world noticed its popularity and immediately adopted it as "Brazilian".
In 1979, the EdMar Company started manufacturing variegated rayon thread in the U.S. and has witnessed its steady growth in popularity, not only for Brazilian Dimensional style embroidery, but in all areas of needlework. Today there are many organizations and an International Guild that are exclusively dedicated to the art and advancement of Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery.
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