What Are You Stitching?
8th May 2020
Many stitchers are like magpies, being drawn endlessly to shiny things. This is perhaps one reason why goldwork is such a popular technique among our readers who can’t seem to get enough of glittery, metal threads. So, here is some sparkle for you to enjoy…
‘In 2016 I enrolled in a 3-year course based at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England. The course was structured around 3 one-day workshops per year under the guidance of expert embroiderer and historian Tanya Bentham.’
‘The requirement was to design our own piece in the style of Opus Anglicanum using images suggested by Tanya and based on historical documents. I chose a 14th Century German manuscript known as the Codex Manesse. It contains illustrations of love poetry.’
‘The gold background has been worked in underside couching using a gold coloured passing thread, with a linen thread for the stitching. The remainder is in split stitch in varying numbers of strands of fine pure silk thread.
You will notice a Latin inscription ‘STULTUS PUER’. It translates as ‘Stupid Boy’!’
‘This piece of work represents far more to me than just a piece of embroidery. Its completion was a goal to aim for in a fight back to some sort of normality after a serious health event.
To the power of stitch, GRATIAS TIBI VALDE (thank you very much).’
What an achievement, Brenda, and thank you so much for sharing your journey and your magnificent embroidery. It is truly something to be proud of, on many levels.
‘I completed two Jenny Aidin-Christie designs. These had so many techniques and unique materials and her instructions are superb. It is exciting to have a challenge like this. My desire is to be able to attend one of her classes one day.’
‘I like to work with kits when they include specialty materials which are either unknown here in Canada or are difficult to acquire. But I constantly look for challenges and unique aspects in which to extend my skills.’
What we haven’t shown here is the wonderful variety of projects that Mavis has sent us. These are just a couple, so look out for more in upcoming issues of the newsletter!
‘I am in my seventies and have been sewing and embroidering all my life. I spent 20 years as a TV costume designer in the UK and then as a show house designer for a large building company. I also knit, quilt and collect and make doll’s houses, so I’m always busy!’
‘This bird on grey Dupion is from a class I did with the embroiderer from Game of Thrones. This is her design.’
The bird is magnificent and what a treat to do a class with the embroiderer from Game of Thrones! Thank you so much for letting us show off your work, Anna.
‘After years of stitching tapestry cushions, I discovered cross stitch. Hurray! No more boring backgrounds to fill in. Hardanger was also calling me but after a couple of disasters I gave it up until Ilke Cochrane (aka Mabel Figworthy) did a beginners SAL back in 2013.’
‘Ilke is a brilliant and patient teacher and I was hooked. The current SAL is a crewelwork Tree of Life and one version includes goldwork. I researched more and found a beginner’s goldwork kit by Sarah Homfray.
The stitching community has to be one of the most generous – the wealth of information freely shared is amazing.
Where I live in Ireland there are no groups to join within a reasonable distance of my home and none of my friends are interested. My stitching has seen me through some difficult times and I stitch every day, even if it is just for a few minutes.’
Louise you’ve made a beautiful start to what can be a difficult technique. We do hope you continue and please keep sharing with us your finishes.
Are you captivated by goldwork? Or have you completed any projects with a little bit of sparkle? We’d love to see your work, so email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with photographs and a few words about your stitching journey.