My finished goldwork piece, the Bishop’s Crosier, is now in London at Hampton Court in the Royal School of Needlework waiting to be assessed. Although the mark I’ve earned means a great deal to me, it matters more what I’ve accomplished and what I’ve learned. To have completed a goldwork piece worked entirely in metal threads for the first time is an accomplishment. If I worked the piece again, I know exactly what I would now be able to do to a higher standard.
The aim of the course, as stated in the brief from the RSN is;
“To produce an embroidery which demonstrates technical competence in basic Goldwork. Your own design will be worked on cotton velvet or silk dupion, using the threads provided and including the techniques specified in the brief.” ✓ Tick
The techniques that must be included in the piece are;
-An area of brick stitched Japanese thread over felt padding. ✓ Tick
-An area with a combination of couched threads over felt padding. ✓ Tick
-Some Pearl Purl outlines ✓ Tick
-An area of solid chip work, over felt padding inside a Pearl Purl outline ✓ Tick
-Smooth Purl cutwork over soft string padding. (Bright Check cutwork
can also be used, but cutwork must include Smooth purl.) ✓ Tick
The assessors will be looking at the following criterion and marking each student’s work according to their degree of success in achieving each of the criterion.
Cleanliness and Overall Appearance
Paint lines are not visible
Fabric is clean with no wax marks
Good tension throughout stitches; evenly spaced
Sharp turns; Rows do not overlap
Evenly stretched pearl purl with no stitches visible
Correct length with minimal cracks
Smooth and even tension
Appropriate Choice of threads
Suitable choice of thread(s) for each particular area.
Effective use of different threads where they have been used together
Felt is not visible
All felt padding has a smooth appearance
Soft string has been cut away gradually with no obvious drops in height
The board has been cut accurately with 90 degree corners and smooth edges
There are sharp corners
The work is mounted on the grain of the fabric
Sateen is straight and taut with no slip stitches showing
There are no puckers in the fabric
During the two weeks I was working on this piece, I was completely involved and focused. Never has a piece of embroidery captured my imagination as this one did. Working with hard metal threads on the beautiful silk was such an interesting and challenging combination of materials. I will be interested to see what the assessors have to say about where I can improve and if their suggestions are in line with my own evaluation of my work.
Thank you all for your words of encouragement and praise during my course – you are all lovely classmates!