Russian Metal Thread Embroidery with Pamela Smith

We met up on Monday 15 May 2017 for a fascinating evening with Pamela Smith. Pamela introduced us to Russian metal thread embroidery and explained how it has developed over the centuries.

The earliest examples are of ecclesiastical embroidery, such as altar fronts and vestments, worked with couching and split stitch.

Russian aristocrats set their peasants to work to produce their sumptuous embroidered garments. The Strogonov family, who were wealthy merchants and later ennobled, set up embroidery workshops and employed peasants as well as family members to produce beautiful embroideries. Some items, such as elaborate headwear were also made in monasteries.

The picture below shows the front and back of a dushegreya or 'soul warmer'. The bodice is heavily embroidered with goldwork and the sleeves are exceptionally long to display a 'waste of fabric', indicating that the wearer was wealthy.

The secret of staying warm in Russia was to wear multiple layers, as these dolls demonstrate. However after Peter the Great saw what was worn at court in the west, he insisted that his courtiers adopt this style, so bodices became lower, coats shorter and everyone at court suffered from the cold!

Pamela also spoke about the ancient city of Torzhok, founded in the 11th century by Novgorod merchants as a goldwork centre and it remains the centre for goldwork embroidery in Russia today.

Many thanks Pamela for a very interesting talk, not only did you provide us with an insight into metal thread embroidery but also gave us a taste of Russian history and culture.

May Meeting

The technique of embroidering with metal threads is found throughout history and in many parts of the world. Our speaker will focus on examples from Russia. Full details below:-

At our last meeting we saw examples of what some of our members are currently working on. How about sharing your latest project or the results of  April's Workshop?

Stitching at Goodworth Clatford Village Club

On Saturday 6 May 2017, a band of ten happy stitchers met up at Goodworth Clatford Village Club, to sew, chat and generally enjoy each other's company. We all brought our own work and stitched, knitted and sketched in peace and quiet.

Christine and Anne had been thoughtful enough to supply cakes, so what could have been more perfect?!

We plan to hold another get-together at the hall on Saturday 13 May 2017, so if you're free, why not drop in for a relaxing day with like-minded friends?

Fragments Workshop with Lynda Monk

What an inspiring Saturday we had on 22 April 2017 at Goodworth Clatford Village Club!  Having invited Lynda Monk to speak to us last year, we were all very excited at the prospect of her coming back to give us a workshop.

Lynda brought some beautiful examples of her work to show us and to whet our appetites for what was to come.

We learnt how to work with lutradur and thermofax screens, using Xpanda paste and gel medium and we all managed to produce some wonderful results.

As we became more confident, we had the opportunity to experiment on different surfaces, including velvet, scrim and paper.

We worked with plain and coloured fabrics and used Lynda's heat press to create some shimmering effects with foils.

The last thing Lynda showed us was how to make lutradur flowers. Although we didn't have time to finish them on the day, I'm sure if we all work hard, we will have some beautiful examples to show everyone at our next meeting.

Many thanks, Lynda, for a very inspiring day. You showed us a whole variety of techniques and filled us with enthusiasm.

The History and Magic of Hedebo Embroidery with Jette Roy Finlay-Heath

We all met up at Priory Hall on Monday 10 April 2017 for a fascinating talk on Hedebo, Danish Whitework, given to us by Jette Roy Finlay-Heath.

Jette took us on a quick tour of her homeland and explained that three hundred years ago, the farming people who lived in the Hedebo heathland area, just south of Copenhagen, grew flax, which they spun to produce their own linen. This was made into many embroidered items, including bonnets and collars.

Jette told us that she had been taught to sew by her mother and that to design a piece of whitework involves geometry, so that a mathematical mind is an asset. She explained that there are six different techniques involved in Hedebo, including counted threads, pulled thread work and needlelace.

The techniques were developed over 300 years and it is quite possible nowadays to mix techniques up to create some amazing designs.

Jette told us that she has travelled to America, Canada and Newfoundland to teach Hedebo and that her husband Roy accompanies her on her overseas trips. She also used to teach at Urchfont Manor, which has now sadly closed.

Many thanks, Jette, for coming to visit us, we were all delighted to see your beautiful work and to listen to your talk on all things Danish!

April Meeting

Our monthly meeting has come around rather sooner than usual due to the Easter weekend.
We are going back in time to hear about a very old form of embroidery from Denmark. Prepare to be amazed at the intricate designs - all done by hand!                                                                                 
A million miles apart, at our workshop this month Lynda Monk will guide us through very modern mixed- media techniques - lots of fun trying things out.
And please don't forget to bring your Roses if you haven't given them before.

Saori Weaving with Amanda Edney

Amanda Edney, a Saori weaver, was our speaker at our evening meeting on Monday 20 March 2017. Saori weaving is a Japanese technique. Amanda explained how she had lived in Japan for three years and had become interested in textiles. On her return she studied weaving and then returned to Japan to enrol on a Saori weaving course, to become a registered Saori instructor. Saori weaving allows the weaver to be very creative as there are few restrictions on what can be incorporated into a piece of cloth. The philosophy behind the technique encourages the weaver to be individual, bold and adventurous in their designs.

A shell incorporated into the design

Amanda is currently Artist in Residence at the Whitchurch Silk Mill and gives demonstrations and runs workshops.

Amanda brought a small loom with her and she demonstrated the technique and some of us 'had a go'.  Many thanks, Amanda, for a very enjoyable and entertaining evening. You certainly encouraged our interest in weaving and I'm sure some of us will enrol on one of your workshops.