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Jacobean Crewelwork

Jacobean Crewelwork came to the height of popularity in the early 17th century.  This primarily Elizabethan technique drew inspiration from the explorations and trade in the India Ocean region.  The cross-pollination of materials, aesthetics and design influenced styles of embroidery leading to favoured motifs such as the 'Tree of Life' festooned with an abundance of exotic oversized foliage, flowers and creatures.  These motifs are still extremely popular today.



Blackwork is a historical technique that came to prominence in King Henry VIII reign.  Rooted in Spain and the Moorish traditions.  Traditionally Blackwork is a counted embroidery creating 'diaper' or geometric patterns with adjoining back stitches.  The complexity of these designs is never ending and work wonderfully as fill-in for flora & fauna.  The outline is worked in stem or chain stitch.  Today Blackwork has developed into a way of stitching in the style of photorealism.


Canvas Work

Canvas Shading is slightly different to Canvas Stitches. Both techniques are counted techniques worked on a base fabric that has an open weave and can be traced back historically to 16th century.  Canvaswork has gone in and 

out of fashion over the generations with a dip in the 18th century and a huge revival in the 19th century.  However, in modern day terms, Canvas Stitches is when the technique uses a myriad of stitches to create texture, tone depth to an image.  Canvas Shading generally uses only a few stitches and primarily 'tent' stitch to create a tonal rendition in the style of photorealism. 



Goldwork dates back to before medieval England, however, it was within this period that Opus Anglicanum or English Work emerged.  Internationally renown for the detailed rendering of metal threads on fabric and particular 'underside couching', these mainly ecclesiastical or secular works were highly valued.  Today, attaching metal threads to the surface of fabric still creates an opulent and richly worked effect and the technique continues to be required for military, ceremonial and court occasions.



Stumpwork is the more recent term for the technique historically known as Raised Embroidery or Embossed Work.  Popular in Elizabethan England between 1650 - 1690, this technique was the pastime of privileged young girls who trained in the art of hand embroidery.  The three dimensional effect created with padding, wire and carved objects, can be seen on caskets, mirrors and pictures.  Many of which were provided in the form of kits, hence the repetition of story and motif.  Today the technique has relaxed enabling a wide range of additional techniques to be included within the term Stumpwork.


Silk Shading

Silk Shading originated from China and was also known as 'Painting with Thread'.  Historically silk shading can be traced to Opus Anglicanum in England.  This technique was known for its lavish use of silk thread and meticulous attention to detail.  The technique itself requires only a few simple stitches; primarily'long and short'.  However, the skill is in the ability of the embroiderer to manipulate the threads, creating a smooth, naturally blended piece of work that shines on the fabric.  Today we mainly use stranded cotton rather than silk thread, but of all the techniques silk shading is still admired with awe and fascination.


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