Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Brief History of Canvas Copy Painting Companies UPDATED

Mary Agnes of Needle Nicely produced a brief history of the companies that painted needlepoint canvases for designers on her blog.  I'm going to expand on what she said, for those who are interested in the business side of needlepoint.

Many needlepoint design companies (and some shops) paint their own canvases.  Leigh Designs has in-house painters for theirs, for example.  Leigh says this has given them a lot of control of their product.  Theresa Lee of Lee's Needle Arts also had in-house artists.  More on this in a minute.*

There are several large painting companies now. I think the first was Americanvas, which contracts with nuns in the Philippines to reproduce needlepoint painted canvases for the designers who wish to use the service.

*The Collingsworth family which owns Colonial Needle also got into the canvas painting business when they purchased Lee's Needle Arts several years ago as Lee's painters came with the business.  Now Colonial Needle distributes Lee's canvases, the line of Lee leather goods and runs a painting business as well as the needles they are well known for.  They also now own the Kelly Clark line of canvases, distribute the fabulous Finca perle cotton and floss line, etc.  I understand the painting service that Colonial runs has grown enough that they also contract with overseas painters.

I've also heard that DC Designs (that's Amanda Lawford's son, Derek Clark, for those who are keeping score) has opened a canvas painting service.  See a theme here?  Needlepoint companies for the most part are family businesses.

All this explains why it can take a while for canvases to arrive after you order from your favorite shop.  The overseas shipping can take a while as things have to clear customs.  And of course the various painting companies can get backed up with all the needlepoint designers wanting everything at the same time for the January show, for example.   So the next time you order a canvas and have to wait three months for it, think of the magic fingers of elves painting your canvas and many others in various far-flung places!

UPDATE:  I'm told there is a painting service in China, two in the Philippines and one in Hungary.  I don't have specifics of any of these, though.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com
and at http://chstitchguides.blogspot.com
© Copyright May 10, 2017 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.