Needle-Point Embroidery

Needle-Point of Girl Dancing in Flowers
Needle-Point of Girl Dancing in Flowers

My grandmother was born and raised in a small village in Giannitsa, Greece, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes from Thessaloniki. When she was 16 years old, her family won a Visa lottery to go to America. When they found out they had won, they had one day to pack everything and leave. From Greece to the United States, it took them about a month by ship. When they arrived to New York City, my grandmother immediately began working in the factories to make money for her parents and brothers. Two years later she met my grandfather, who was a welder working the ships in Athens.They got married, had their first kid, and opened up their own sewing factory as a means of income. Their factory in Queens had over 50 machines, and they did contracts with the fashion industry in Manhattan; one of their biggest clients was making dresses and suits for Macy’s. Though they made a good living doing this, my grandmother stopped less than 20 years after because she really hurt her back sewing all day and night. She hired enough talented women to take over the factory, which gave her the time to practice her cross-stitching and needle-point. This specific piece was made for my mom's Sweet 16; she picked out the design and frame from this shop in Astoria, Queens that everyone went to for patterns and textiles. It's considered a big deal for mothers to teach their daughters and for daughters to work on their own pieces. Now at 18, I know how to cross-stitch and needle-point through my mom’s teachings!

Place(s): Greece, New York City, Astoria
Year: 1962

– Hannah Kang

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant