You Raise Me Up: Goldwork couching #2

For those of you who read my previous post, you’ll know all about my ‘moving into 3 dimensional’ couching with felt padding providing height and depth to my goldwork embroidery. This past week, I’ve been continuing with this, thinking about visual depictions of hair as well as incorporating less traditional materials into my embroidery.

To start with – goldwork couching thread (‘passing’, in this instance) worked in tendril-like lines, interlocking and weaving into each other. From the view directly above, they look like all the thread is at the same level.But a side view shows that the surface of the embroidery occupies a number of different heights, as dictated by the number of felt pieces applied underneath.

The following few samples were loosely based around the concept of ‘hair’.




I also decided to sart couching with less traditional materials – namely, plastic fishing wire (at 0.35mm diameter – so pretty thin!). The tchnique of ‘Goldwork’ really relates to the umbrella-term of techniques rather than specific material: for example, in this day and age and on a student budet, thead with ‘real gold’ content is unheard of. Equally, we might sew with silver- or copper-coloured metallic threads, depending on the subject matter. So why not take that transition one step further and delve into the truly unconventional – for example, the fantastic plastic realm?


The star above comprises of five points, each split into two segments, and felt-padded separately. This picture (and the light) realy doesn’t do it justice. Whilst half of each point is worked in blue metallic couching, the other halves are done in appliqued base fabric couched over the top with plastic fishing line. From the side it looks entirely ‘plastic’, from the top the richness of the blue fabric beneath shows through. Interesting, eh?


Here is another example of plastic fishing-line couched down over the top of padded, fabric-appliqued shapes. The height of traditional goldwork passing is retained, while giving it a more modern feel. The silver and red shapes have a dip in the middle, highlighting the additional way the light plays on the finished shape.

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