The Order of Counted Stitch

The Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery (one of the Benaki Museum Buildings) in Athens was once the home of the 20th century Greek artist, Nikos Ghika. In addition to many of his own wonderful paintings, furnishings and other works of art, the gallery’s permanent exhibitions include a wide variety of items from Greek artistic output dating primarily to Ghika’s heyday – the interwar years until the late 1960s. These not only include painting and sculpture, but also folk art, theatrical stage sets and costumes, choreography, photography, architectural designs, satirical cartoons, literature and poetry, music, etc. It shows Ghika’s wide ranging interests and the work of many of his friends and contemporaries.

One item (among many!) caught my eye – a pattern for a counted stitch in a common Greek folk motif – the ship. Note the design is broken down into an order of blocked squares. I think the designs were created to teach traditional textile crafts.

The detail is one of four framed in the Gallery.

One day that ship pattern might translate into a tapestry of my own – once I bring order to the chaos of my tangled tapestry wools.

Order: The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge


  1. The Nicos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika home has become a favorite museum among so many in Athens.These artists,poets and authors were the cultural benchmark of my parents-in laws’ generation.


    • It is a fabulous museum – now even more special since they opened up his studio on the top floor. Just opened at the main Benaki is an exhibition on Ghikas, John Craxton and Patrick Leigh-Fermor. A must visit! It is on until September.


  2. Folk art and especially textile art is so undervalued. As the root of all visual arts I believe it deserves much wider recognition. Interesting to see how the stitch pattern was developed from a simple grid. I confess that classicism is the sum total of my knowledge of Greek art


    • I suspect one reason for undervaluing textile arts is because it is considered a female craft. Next time you visit Athens, the N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery is the place to go for an eye-opening experience of 20th century Greek art. It seems to have been quite a vibrant time in the country. Ghika started as a cubist, having trained in Paris, but applied his skills representing his native land – the arid island of Hydra in particular. I know I was surprised by a whole artistic culture that existed at the time.


Comments are closed.