The Society for the Prevention of Unfinished Needlepoint (SPUN) is the first such organization in the world.
Our mission, as stated by our founder, Mary Smull, in 2009, is “to eliminate the worldwide phenomenon of unfinished needlepoint through a community of like-minded individuals - all of whom are dedicated to completing abandoned needlepoint projects.”
Who We Are
The Society for the Prevention of Unfinished Needlepoint (SPUN) is the first such society to be established and is, today, the largest unfinished needlepoint society in the world.
Our organization was founded by Mary Smull in 2009 on the belief that needlepoint projects are entitled to be fully completed, and must be protected from ending up in the landfill.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, SPUN maintains a strong online presence. We are a textile welfare organization. We are member-funded and not-for-profit.
What We Do
As the first unfinished needlepoint organization to be instituted, we are dedicated to fulfilling the SPUN mission through multiple approaches. Our organization provides leadership in three key areas:
1. Creating a public archive of images of unfinished needlepoint projects - both before and after their completion at the hands of the society’s members – with accompanying stories of the unfinished work.
2. Providing a forum for members to share unfinished projects with one another.
3. Assuaging the guilt commonly associated with non-completion of needlepoint projects through the shared experience of makers – whether they are “finishers” or “non-finishers.”
Formed in 2009 by artist Mary Smull, SPUN has a short history, but an exciting one.
The idea was born when her 95 year-old grandmother gave her the gift of a partially finished embroidered tablecloth.
Smull was stricken to discover that the object still inspired feelings of guilt for her grandmother, who had begun the tablecloth in the1960s, and never completed it.
Worse yet, Smull herself began to feel guilty, for she was also not completing the tablecloth.
Figuring that the experience could not be particular to her or her grandmother, she launched into an exploration of the phenomenon of unfinished textile objects.
She finally settled on unfinished needlepoint as her personal mission.
“I can’t save them all,“ Smull states, “as much as I’d like to take on the project.”
Smull began buying unfinished needlepoint projects on eBay in 2008.
At the time, she was a graduate student at the Cranbook Academy of Art, and decided to complete these projects using only white yarn.
This strategy meant that the needlepoint was “finished” structurally while maintaining a visual record of the stitches the original maker completed before abandoning the project.
The resultant compositions are a curious combination of the original design of the needlepoint project, an anonymous maker’s accomplishment (or lack thereof), and Smull’s intervention.