Posts Tagged ‘goldwork’

Back in May we had a goldwork initial workshop with Brenda Scarman and I started to work a letter ‘O’ for a birthday card for my mother. As it was her birthday a couple of weeks ago I can finally reveal something I’ve finished!

At the end of the workshop I had got this far:


I simplified the scrolls in the middle due to the thickness of the double couching thread and added more chips of silver purl, silver seed beads, turquoise bugle beads and french knots to the border.


Not happy with the squashed spiral on the lower left, so I restitched that.


Carried on beading and french knotting…


…until it was finally finished.

And then I decided I preferred it up the other way!




Simply framed with grey card to become a special birthday card. And a finish!!


I’ve also upcycled an odd clip on earring front to make a beaded brooch


…and turned some of my huge collection of sea glass and china into rings.

DSCN2584.JPG dscn2573dscn2591 dscn2609

Loads more projects still to get stuck into though!


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Our last Embroiderers’ Guild meeting was an all day workshop with Brenda Scarman on goldwork. Our aim was to transfer into fabric and then stitch an ornate letter using different goldwork techniques. For me this was an ideal opportunity to use up some of the goldwork threads I’ve accumulated through eBay over the last few years! Just as very small selection…!


I chose the letter O not because it was an easy shape, but  because I hope to stitch this for a birthday card for my mum, whose name is Olwen. And as it was an easy shape I lazily copied it free hand onto this gorgeous hand dyed silk.


Couching some sort of thread I had round the outside of the outline.


And the inside.


Then the silver leather. There is a single layer of felt underneath to give it a slightly raised feel but I wanted it to stay inside the outline.


The next technique we were shown was chip work. That was fun! I started with dense chip work leading away from the leather, and then started to gradually add silvery clear beads and the odd french knot in turquoise.


Gradually I lessened the silver and increased the turquoise, introducing more french knots and bugle beads.


It was my first attempt at goldwork (I don’t count the pearl purl work I did on some of my hand made jewellery a couple of years ago) and I really enjoyed it. Now all I have to do is to get it finished for my mum’s birthday.

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Another finished piece, this time a pendant. I started with an early attempt at reticulation, which worked beautifully in one part of the brass but didn’t spread to the rest of the piece.

Volcano pendant 1

I then cut it out with a hacksaw, tidied up the central hole and polished it.

Volcano pendant 2

Initially I wanted to stitch it onto black silk, until I found a piece of black cotton velvet. The edges of the brass and the pearl purl sink so nicely into the pile of the velvet and it gives another wonderful textural contrast.

Volcano pendant 3

I took Rachel’s advice after I’d blogged about the blue spirals brooch and stretched the purls slightly before I stitched them down. Much neater.

Volcano pendant 5

Some of the longest bullions I’ve ever stitched, and with a slightly slubby thread too. The bullions and the purl are actually holding the metal to the fabric.

Volcano pendant 6

Volcano pendant 7

Volcano pendant 8

I finished off the french knots inside the hole and added some trios in a dark red silk thread to the ends of the purls.

Volcano pendant 8

The pendant is two almond shapes cut from pelmet vilene which are laminated together and the velvet laced over them.

Volcano pendant 9

The back is another slightly smaller single piece of vilene which has been covered with black kimono silk with a slightly crepey texture.

Volcano pendant 10

This was invisibly ladder stitched onto the black velvet and the bale stitched on with red thread.

Volcano pendant 11

Volcano pendant 12

And boxed.

Volcano pendant 13

I really feel I want to do something more with these pieces of jewellery than just accumulate them like I do with my purely textile work. I was wondering if they might be the sort of thing that would sell on etsy… Any thoughts from the wise?

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One of the options I was considering for attaching my reticulated metal to fabric was couching heavy goldwork metal threads at either side of the metal and letting the rigidity of the threads hold it in place.

I had the other section of the thin brass rectangle that had melted into two and also given me the piece I used in the fire pendant…

Blue spirals 1

…some oddments of pearl purl in two thicknesses and the last of the intense sapphire coloured silk I’d used for the Eregion pendant.

Blue spirals 2

The reticulated brass piece was stitched onto the silk with straight stitches in Gutermann metallic gold thread over some of the narrower sections just to keep it in place before I started on the main couching. It’s possible to see the stitches but they really are very well camouflaged against the metal.

It’s only the second time I’ve used pearl purl but the moment I started to couch the spirals with the same thread I’d used to stitch down the brass, I knew it was right.

Blue spirals 3

The brass sits firmly in place under the coils of wire.

Blue spirals 4

Blue spirals 5

Blue spirals 6

Blue spirals 7

Blue spirals 8

Definitely a technique I want to use again.

Next time, I need to make sure all the stitches slide down between the coils of the purl and they could also all be a little smaller, neater and closer to the purl, but I was so delighted with the effect that I was rather stitching in a hurry to see where it was going.

Blue spirals 9

I just adore the colour combination, which surprises me, because when it comes to the jewellery I wear, I’m strictly a silver lover. But this…

It’s a bit big for a pendant so I’m going to finish it as a brooch. Not my favourite part, but I need the hoop for the volcano piece.

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The fire pendant is almost ready for making up and on my course this week I managed to get a number of other things ready to start the embroidery stage.

The fire pendant has had the bullions added and is off the hoop to make way for another piece.

Fire pendant 1a

The bullions were quite awkward to do as they go over the metal, so there’s no give when you put the back stitch in and also the thread is very fine and that made it difficult to pull the loops through evenly, but it’s a start to exploring ideas for attaching the metal to the fabric.

Fire pendant 2a

The week before last I reticulated another piece of brass which holed quite nicely, but was very concentrated in one spot.

Volcano reticulation 1

The texture is wonderful, reminding me of a volcano, but I wanted to enlarge the hole and get rid of the smooth areas, so that was one of my first jobs this week.

Volcano reticulation 2

After a long session with the saw and the rest of the evening in the barreller, smoothing the edges and polishing it, it looks like this.

Volcano reticulation 2

The edge is all completely hand sawn, with my heart in my mouth lest I snap the impossibly thin and fragile blade as I twisted it round the contours of the reticulation and I just love the fine almost organic edge I’ve managed to get.

Volcano reticulation 4

I plan to mount it on black silk and continue the volcano theme with embroidery in vivid red and orange with some goldwork threads and then finish it either as a brooch or another pendant.

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The angelina flower has been proving a bit of a problem. I outlined it with whipped back stitch in a purple/green metallic thread…
Angelina flower finish 1

…and then wanted to do something in the middle. I initially thought a random patch of beading or possibly chipwork and since the beads were easier to get to than the goldwork stuff, I started with beads, stitched about thirty on and didn’t like it. The edge needed to be more clearly defined and the beads themselves gave too heavy an effect.

So I hunted out my goldwork threads and started to play with different layouts and ideas. When I found a piece of pearl purl and laid it in a curve around the edge of the central area, I knew this was what I wanted.

Angelina flower finish 2

I was going to simply cut the purl when I got to the middle and leave it as a straightforward spiral, but I saw the way the working end flicked across the spiral and felt it was a neater and more unusual way of finishing.

Angelina flower finish 3

It’s been a real slow process thinking my way through this very small project but I’ve been able to do something different and even better, when I was going through my gold work threads I found a selection in copper which I’d forgotten I had (oh the shame…) and which I’ve put on one side for possible inclusion in the rusting  quilt.

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As already chronicled by Debbidipity, at the end of last month our EG enjoyed a day long workshop by Lynne Porter called ‘The Midas Touch’ wherein we had the chance to play with lots of shiny metallic things.

Lynne’s organisation was superb. We had three groups, with three sets of activities on a rotation and three kits with samples of all the things we needed for each activity. She demonstrated to and set one group off at a time but once we had started there was so much to do and explore that no one had the chance to sit idle.

Lots of little experimental samples. Right up my street. 😮

Kit One was metals.

A small sheet of copper fed one way and then partly the other way through a paper ribbler and aluminium mesh embroidered with silk thread.

Embossing on copper (left) and copper coloured aluminium (right) gave very different effects.

Letter punches, embossing and hand lettering with a ballpoint pen on copper coloured aluminium.

Freehand drawing on copper with a ballpoint pen (left) and a ribbled piece of fine metallic mesh/fabric (right) which I love. It reminds me of damask.

Kit 2 was about applying gold to a surface and included, among other things, black velvet, gold coloured leaf, transfoil, double sided carpet tape and painted bondaweb.

We cut out shapes from carpet tape , put them on the velvet and removed the backing to leave the glue. Then we applied ‘gold’ leaf over the top.

It looks gorgeous but is quite  thick and tacky.

Stitching over it was interesting but I don’t like the feel of it.

Then we used transfoil. I cut out a shape from the painted bondaweb and fused it to the velvet. Then I ironed the transfoil on top. I like the bits where the bondaweb shows through.

I thought I’d try it again with a spiral but for some reason it didn’t work and the transfoil pulled off the bondaweb so I ‘gold’ leafed it instead and stitched a wire shape I’d made playing with a ‘jig’ on top. One very sticky needle as a result.

Kit 3 contained card, paper, embossing powder, velvet, beads, some goldwork threads, memory foam and painted canvas.

Painted embossed memory foam. I enjoyed reheating it and watching the previous image vanish…

Gold card and variegated metallic madeira thread.

Beads and variegated metallic thread with painted canvas on velvet.

Plenty to play with, more than enough techniques to try out and best of all, enough in the packs for more opportunities to experiment further at home.



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