Many needlepointers are unaware of the presence of professional copy painters of needlepoint canvases. It was a phenomenon that developed about 15-20 years ago. Canvases are now painted in the Philippines, mainland China, and the United States, by companies whose sole purpose is to produce copies of the canvases sent to them by needlepoint designers. In the past there have also been (and may still be) companies in Haiti and Mexico (Petei notably used Mexico, Trubey taught painters in Haiti and sent designs there for years).
Needle Nicely, as a by-product of having Trubey as its owner, developed in-house designs. Trubey brought two people with us from Blowing Rock, NC, to assist her in helping her paint her wholesale line. They also produced copies of the Needle Nicely designs; which, when I purchased Needle Nicely, were considered part of the business since I had participated so much in their development. Trubey was preoccupied with her developing wholesale business, so I located a company doing copy painting (Susan Treglown Designs).
Another thing not widely known is that some designers and copy painters specialize in stitch counted designs. These range from sayings to more elegant designs. Many of Needle Nicely's designs are stitch counted, so Susan Treglown as a copy painter was a perfect choice for us. Examples of non-stitch painted (free-form painting) designs are those by Edie & Ginger, Strictly Christmas, and Barbara Eyre. NOTE: Stitch painted canvases have the intersection of the threads painted. It isn't a graceful swoop of the brush, but a stitch-by-stitch progression on the canvas.
Years ago, designers did their own copy painting or had in-house painters. Sometimes after wholesale markets, there would be a wait of 6 to 12 months. I vividly remember the first market where Painted Pony, A Collection of Design; and a third designer who was a friend of theirs shared one booth. If my memory is correct, each designer had one wall (the 4th being the aisle and entrance to the booth). They had such fresh-looking designs, they were the hit of the market. It was almost impossible to place an order. I heard later that one of the designers shipped the last orders when she left home for the next year's market! She was so new, but she was determined to paint everything people had ordered before she went to market to take more orders.
I was reminded of this change in production today when I received a shipment from The Meredith Collection with some new designs for Needle Nicely. More about them Saturday.