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Raised Embroidery – A Tribute to Barbara Hirst

October 15, 2015

I published this post about Raised Embroidery (Stump Work) in 2011 and we lost the link to the pdf article that I wrote about the subject.    All links are now revived.

Raised embroidery, or stumpwork, is a dimensional style of embroidery.  There are many styles that have been used over the years and lots of confusion over the many historical descriptions and names.  Raised work was mainly used in Britain  for a few decades in the seventeenth century.

If you are interested in learning the techniques of Raised Embroidery (stumpwork), we have a course coming up very soon. Lisa Harkins will be teaching a 2 day course Nov. 14 and 15th, 2015.  Click here for a brochure.  You can also click here  for a more in-depth article I wrote about  stumpwork history and Barbara and Roy Hirst’s role in it.

Barbara Hirst’s Embroidery
Barbara was a prolific embroiderer.  She created an exciting new interest for stumpwork, teaching very individual techniques and styles from the eighties right into the twenty-first century.  Her techniques were inspired by historical examples, but her subject matter changed to gardeners or family members or even farming, depending on what she was interested in at that time.

Barbara Hirst demonstrating for one of our study groups. She and Roy did a great deal of research on the subject.

Her husband, Roy, joined her after he retired, adding hand-painted and machine-embroidered aspects to her exacting hand work.  I kept in touch with Roy and Barbara over the years.  I have taken a number of my tour participants to their house to see their many embroideries – first when I was teaching in Britain, and also from the United States.

Whirlwind Study Group at Barbara and Roy’s house in 2001. In the center is the Millennium Casket, which illustrates British history in stumpwork on a reproduction casket built by Roy.

Barbara, sadly, passed away some time ago, and I would like to share some of her Raised Work with you. The pieces below show detached buttonhole stitch – one of the stitches used prominently in Raised Work.

A demonstration panel that Barbara worked for her book, New Designs in Raised Embroidery. Personal collection of Gail Harker.

An unusual, three-dimensional bird worked by Barbara and Roy. Personal collection of Marjorie Bachert.

This stumpwork bird made by Barbara is included in her book, Raised Embroidery: A Practical Guide to Decorative Stumpwork. Private collection of Lisa M. Harkins.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Penny Peters permalink
    October 15, 2015 7:31 pm

    I was lucky to meet Barbara and Roy Hirst on a trip to England with you. They were such lovely, vital people making tiny stump work pictures that were amazing in every detail. I know that Lisa’s stump work class will be excellent. She is a great teacher!

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