By Deborah Merrick-Wilson
The art of English precious-metal embroidery dates to medieval times and is still utilized by the house of Mountbatten-Windsor on military, clerical, and royal regalia. The magnificent uniforms, altar fronts, and clerical robes viewed at recent royal weddings illustrate its timelessness and lasting influence as a means to convey luxury and status.
Although the materials and techniques employed in this two-session project workshop date to medieval times, participant learn how the art form translates to contemporary work for couture and personal objects as well.
Class begins with instruction in how to properly mount a muslin-backed silk ground in an embroidery hoop and design transfer. Design customization and a variety of beginning-through-intermediate techniques are taught.
They include, but are not limited to, invisible couching, overstretching, and wrapping of gilt pearl purl, application of broad and whipped plates over English felt padding, and "s”-ing and "z”-ing with gilt and copper rough and check purls and Japan gold and copper passing threads.
All materials are imported from the same English goldsmith house patronized by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and afford students the opportunity to walk in her royal shoes (so to speak) while executing a design of motifs that would have been seen at Tudor courts.
An illustrated discussion of the history of English precious-metal embroidery and its effects on the global economy of the medieval through early-modern eras is also part of the class.
English-precious metal embroidery is suitable for all ability levels; it helps, however, to be comfortable manipulating a threaded needle. An $85 supply fee is payable to the instructor at the first session. Experienced embroiderers are encouraged to bring favorite tools, and participants may choose to bring supplemental illumination or magnification tools.
Instructor: Deborah Merrick-Wilson
2 sessions; 7 hours each with lunch break (participants provide their own)
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)