Session Two:

Immersive, Historical Embroidery with
Annie Coggan & Jordana Munk Martin

October 2 - October 5, 2019

Artist, architect and historian Annie Coggan and Tatter Library founder Jordana Martin share their love of embroidery and it’s history with an immersive curriculum about stitching and its specific role in the history of Maine. Maine was home to some of the most famed women’s academies in the last quarter of the 18th century.

American embroidered samplers represent not just an important and historic body of women’s arts, but often serve as the only documentation of family lineage and women’s actual existence. As women weren’t added to the census previous to 1850, samplers bearing full names of stitchers and their families become proof of life.

Annie and Jordana will give us a presentation and lead us in stitching instruction through the week, while we also enjoy primary embroidery sources at local historical societies and museums, as well as a trip to the famous Swan’s Island textile company.

Each evening we will gather for beautiful dinner feast, and embroider on a communal tablecloth. This project will bring us together at the end of the day - allowing for continued stitching practice and conversation, and connecting us to the part of the craft which historically took place, side by side. The finished cloth will be distributed at the end of the retreat, as a memento of our time together.

This retreat is set in beautiful Mid-coast Maine near Belfast.


Artist, professor and historian Annie Coggan and Tatter Library founder Jordana Martin will lead us through the history of embroidered samplers in Maine, while we stitch with mushroom dyed thread from the first three days of the retreat. Retreat goers will work on their own samplers, exploring techniques and stitches. Basic embroidery stitches will be covered, as well as an examination of techniques found on historical examples. The culmination of every day will be stitching together on a communal tablecloth while we share a delicious meal.


Thursday afternoon we will be visiting Swan’s Island in Northport where they do all of the dyeing and weaving of their blankets. We will be having a tour and will be spending the afternoon with master dyer Tony Vinci. Tony will lead us through a hands-on demonstration of how to dye yarn with indigo and other natural dyes. Participants will be walking away with several skeins of Swan’s Island yarn dyed by hand that afternoon to take home and stitch with. This is a very special collaboration between TATTER and Swan’s Island developed specifically for our retreat.


Meals will be provided by Annemarie Ahearn of Salt Water Farm using fresh, local Maine ingredients. We will have the opportunity to dine together at her farm. Private dining experiences will be curated by other well-known chefs and restaurants including Belfast’s Chase’s Daily, Camden’s Long Grain and Rhumb Line, and Rockport’s Seafolk.


Each evening we will gather together for our meal and stitch on a communal tablecloth. This project will bring us together at the end of the day and allow us to engage with each other and the craft that since its origin, was traditionally practiced side by side.


Wednesday October 2

  • 3 - 5pm - Arrival

  • 6pm - Dinner

  • 7:30pm - Historical Maine Embroidery presentation with Annie and communal stitching

Thursday October 3

  • 9am - Breakfast

  • 9:30 - 10am - Embroidery class

  • 12pm - Picnic lunch

  • 1pm - Tour of Swan’s Island Northport and Dyeing experience with master dyer Tony Vinci

  • 3pm - Walking/Swimming/Rest

  • 6pm - Dinner and communal stitching

Friday October 4

  • 9am - Embroidery class with breakfast

  • 10am - Field trip to Saco and /or Portland

  • 1pm - Lunch in Portland (location TBD)

  • 2pm - Embroidery class

  • 6pm - Dinner with stitching

Saturday October 5

  • 9am - Breakfast and departures