"De Lapzussen"
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Our sampler group ("The Sampler Sisters")

The Royal Circle of Local History is the proud owner of a collection of samplers, one of the most important collections in Western Europe. The growing local and regional interest in this collection resulted in the foundation of a separate sampler group. The late Hilde Schollen formed the basis of this group in 2004, gathering several ladies with a passion for samplers around her. For them sampler making is not just a hobby, indeed, it is a passion.

Our group started with 14 members. In 2005 the group earned itself a beautiful name: ‘Sampler Sisters’. We have Chris Claes, a board member of the Royal Circle, to thank for this. Hilde became our ‘supreme sampler sister’. In 2014 we celebrated our decennial existence. By now our group has 35 members.

We are not a handicraft club, but the ladies who never embroidered are assisted and advised by experienced members.

Not every member is able to take part in every activity, the larger part are watching us from a distance. We keep them all posted through the meeting minutes.

Every month we get together for an evening meeting in the Documentation centre of the Royal Circle of Local History, Duivenstraat 22 in Kontich. News is being exchanged, new books are discussed, every embroidered sampler is admired and we learn something new about samplers (history, symbolism, old craft techniques and materials).

Hilde Schollen was our bright example. She had an extensive knowledge of samplers in general and of our collection especially. Her death in 2013 was devastating for our group. Since then her successor, Erica Uten, has promoted the interests of the ‘sampler sisters’.

We regularly organize a trip to a museum or a textile exhibition, or attend a workshop together. These activities usually take place during a weekend. One of the highlights of our activities was a trip to the Cotswolds (UK) in 2013. We visited the Fellers and we were able to admire their world famous collection. In 2016 we did the trip all over again!

Some of our ‘sampler sisters’ are also a member of Merkwaardig, a Dutch association for sampler lovers and are present at the meetings in Nijkerk.

Most to the left: Hilde Schollen (2008)

Hilde Schollen (left) and Erica Uten in Goes (2010)

The boast sampler (2008)

Another highlight was the exhibition of the museum collection in 2008 in the chapel of Altena (Kontich). Hilde Schollen and the board members of the Royal Circle put a lot of effort in setting up this exhibition, but it was completely worth its while. For this occasion the ‘sampler sisters’ crafted a magnificent presentation sampler scroll and a few of our own embroidered samplers were on display. We received loads of positive reactions from our Belgian visitors and further abroad, as well for our older as for our new samplers.

In 2010 our collection received extensive international interest when it was shown in the church of Mary Magdalene in Goes, the Netherlands. Over 12.000 visitors enjoyed this exhibition.

In 2014 and 2015 a few of our ‘sampler sisters’ worked diligently to meticulously sew the sampler collection to their new frames, in which they are fully protected from outside harm. The samplers are definitely worth a visit. You can find them in the old-textile chamber in the Museum for Local History and Archeology of Kontich. The big collection of ceremonial scrolls has also been taken care of and is now being safeguarded in a new, solid way for posterity and for all future vistors.

Meanwhile our ‘sampler sisters’ have become a close group of friends and we hope it will remain this way for many years to come.

You can contact the ‘Sampler sisters’ through Erica Uten,
tel. +32 13 55 42 14, cell phone +32 486 51 67 07 or by e-mail

To anyone obsessed with needle & thread and samplers and handy at the INTERNET here are some interesting sites:

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Created: 16/03/2017, updated: 24/03/2017 © 2003-2017 - MuseumKontich - Alle rechten voorbehouden