Goldwork assessment

Last Friday afternoon I received an email from Gill Holdsworth at the RSN. Attached was the assessment of my goldwork piece.

Below are the comments from the assessors. I agree with every suggestion for improvement and am really pleased that they were so positive about my chip work and thread choices.

Cleanliness and Overall appearance   10/10
All paint lines have been covered there are no wax marks visible the fabric is clean and in good condition

Padding   10/10
All felt has been successfully covered and the soft string padding has a lovely gradient the padding has a smooth appearance

Appropriate choice of threads   10/10
The varied sizes of pearl purl have worked well together to offer a subtle finish. There is a real balance and symmetry to the whole piece which reflects the good choice and placement of thread.

Couching stitches   9/10
There is a very even placement of stitches of the bricking on the Japanese thread and a smooth appearance has been attained. There are stitches visible on the large pearl purl – angling the needle will help reduce this. The pearl purl has been evenly stretched. Your plunging is very neat, accurate and smooth. Well done!

Cut work    8/10
There is minimal cracking and a couple of the purls are a little short which in turn has exposed the padding, however, overall this is a valiant effort and well done for taking up the challenge of working two areas of cutwork next to each other.

Chip work    10/10
The chip work has been beautifully executed and we are particularly impressed with the sharp points and small areas which you have managed to fill.

Mounting    8/10
The design is centrally place. The fabric is on the grain and taut. The mitered corners are sharp and have minimal bulk. The sateen is baggy and has uneven, visible slip stitching. The rebate is uneven. Well done lacing to minimize the chance of puckering to the front.

Assessors’ Comments
You have created a beautiful piece of goldwork showing great attention to detail and boldness of design and composition. Very well done!

A total score of 65/70 or 93%. Am I pleased? YES!!!!!!!

The most exciting part of the email was the request from Dr. Susan Kay-Williams, the Chief Executive of the RSN, to display my piece either in the exhibition at Hampton Court this fall or at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexander Palace in October.

My feet haven’t touched the ground and when I stop to think about all of this, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my teacher, Nicola Jarvis.

RSN Goldwork: Finished and ready for assessment

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

Couching Stitches

Good tension throughout stitches; evenly spaced
Sharp turns; Rows do not overlap
Evenly stretched pearl purl with no stitches visible
Neat plunging

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RSN Goldwork Day 8: Mounting

The metal thread is now all finished. The Bishop’s Crosier glitters in the sunlight and I am so pleased with the result.

There is, however, one more thing to do: mounting. Last year I had a terrible time with the mounting of my crewel work piece. By the time I was done with the stitching I had only a half day in which to mount the piece. In the end, I took it back to the home where I was staying to finish off the last few stitches. I was rushed and, when the assessors looked at the finish work, they could see I was rushed.

This year I had more time and a little experience so I was able to approach the mounting process in a good frame of mind.

For step by step instructions on how to attach the calico to the board, please look at this post from last years RSN course. After gluing the calico to the board, we placed batting or wadding between the goldwork piece and the calico, cutting it just a tiny bit smaller that the board. The goldwork piece was then attached using straight pins pushed into the edge of the board all the way around. To keep the tension even, I began with one pin in the center of each of the four sides and stretched the silk quite firmly as I added more pins. I had to stretch and re-pin a couple of times to get all the bubbles out. Now it was time to use the medium sized curved needle to attach the silk to the calico on the back. Using a herringbone stitch that was very large, I stitched the silk onto the calico.

Throughout the next part of the process I used a bubble wrap frame to keep the goldwork safe from being flattened. It made the job 100% easier than it would have been with out the bubble wrap frame!

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