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Gold Work Boot Camp

March 18, 2013

A small brown parcel awaited Level 4 Experimental Stitch and Multi Media students at the studio.  Within that coveted parcel was a vast array of gold threads and purls from Golden Threads from Britain.  We were ready to begin our session on Metal Thread Work or Goldwork as it is also known. Working with metal threads is a little more complex than usual stitchery because of different ways used to handle, stitch and apply them. For example, there are numerous ways to raise the threads from the ground with string, felt or card.    The magic of the elevated gold is revealed in the way that it catches the light and reflects it.   I still follow the leading example of working with Metal Thread Embroidery with our most experienced stitchers at Level 4 as I did while teaching London City & Guilds Courses in Britain and here.
So to begin…. Nine of us spent two hours measuring, cutting and bagging the treasures into a set for each person. By the way, that was 18 hours to gently tease and package the bits and pieces. After that, we sorted through our frames and hoops and then prepared all of the fabrics for samples. My mind travels back to all of the classes that I have worked with over the years and the many museum and special visits  taken  to study centuries of metal thread work. Penny Peters worked alongside me as we demonstrated and talked about the unique ways to work with specific  techniques. After 5 days of intense work, a multitude of samples were made.  The students refer to this week as Gold Work –  Boot Camp.
An unexpected French surprise was brought to class in the form of a beautiful padded card metal thread piece. Pictures of that piece are in this blog.  Metal Thread Work was done in a number of different countries throughout the centuries.  France and Britain were each well known at various times.  Each country and era brings differences in design and techniques.
The week ended and students went home to continue stitching.  Next session they will be working with metallic threads and fabrics by machine. We will be watching with interest as our students – the Opals take on the challenge to design their own contemporary piece of Metal Thread Work.   Gail

P.S.  To the Opals – Penny and I hope you enjoyed the experience as much as we did.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jill Taylor permalink
    March 18, 2013 1:11 am

    Definitely boot camp and definitely a highlight session at the Centre, thanks to Gail, Penny and my fellow Opals.

  2. March 18, 2013 2:00 am

    In our 5 days together, I remembered how mesmerizing it can be to stitch with metal threads….it can be a slow meditative process. Each of the gold threads has a slightly different way of reflecting the light, and more variations can be created by changing the stitching threads or the direction the threads are placed on the fabric. It was such a pleasure to work with metal threads again.

  3. March 18, 2013 5:13 pm

    Sounds a wonderful way to spend time; stitching with fellow students and such precious threads!

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