Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Here. Have some Goldwork.

Because of both Tannenberg and the liveARCH conference in Hungary coming up, I am away for the next two weeks - so no blogging during this time. Regular blogging will continue on Monday, October 12.

Today, instead of another instance of the "Gory Details" series, you get a sneak preview of things to come in the market stall. Ages ago, I have already blogged about gold thread once, still pondering whether to carry some or not. Some while later, I made the decision to give it a try. After all, the worst that can happen is that I have to do goldwork for the rest of my life to use all the thread!

Meanwhile, things have progressed, and I have received the sample in final thickness and quality. And just as I had expected, the quality is outstanding, the thread is extremely beautiful, and I am very much looking forward to the day that I can offer it in the market stall.

Of course, before placing the final order, I had to play with the gold thread, having fun brocading and embroidering dutifully test the thread for its suitability for both brocade and embroidery. And here you see the results:

The cent coin is included for scale. On top left, you see part of an unfinished embroidered (couched) motif from 12th century Villach-Judendorf, with the gold thread couched on in pairs. The different shades are made by using green and red silk thread - plant dyed by Sabine and also for sale (coming soon in the "Gory Details" series). It's amazing how much coloured shading this will give - and giving colours to the gold by stitching with the fine silk and giving textures by strategical placing of the stitches really is a delighting and delicious work.

Left of the coin, you can still see most of the steel needle I worked with (and still threaded in with green). And right of the coin is a tablet-woven band, eleven tablets threaded with Gütermann silk in a dark red shade and brocaded with the gold thread, again taken double. While the picture does more or less catch the look of the embroidery, the brocade on the band gave me a hard time photographing it, and the picture doesn't do it justice. It shines and glitters in real life and looks really, really expensive. (Well, it is.)

You can click on the picture to see it much larger, but please don't look too closely at the quality of the weaving and stitching - these are the first bits I made, it was just playing around with it to get a first impression, and I have not really worked with gold thread before. But the thread is wonderful to work with, smooth and flexible and very, very golden. And I just could not keep all this shininess to myself any longer!


Aethelflaed said...

Being completely ignorant about gold thread, but wanting to learn, I have to ask: is this GOLD gold, as in gold the metal? Or just gold the color? Is there any fiber content in the thread, or just metal?

a stitch in time said...

Oops - probably I should have explained that, but I was so excited that I did not think so far. This is gold-as-in-gold-the-metal gold, not just the colour. And yes, there is fibre in it, otherwise it would be just wire. Most medieval gold threads (called passing in modern goldwork embroidery terms) consist of a thread as core, and a very thin, narrow strip of metal is wound in a tight spiral around that core. In my case, the thread is modeled after a find from Villach-Judendorf, with a core of real silk and covered with gilt pure silver. So everything that is fine and expensive comes together to make this truly remarkable thread...

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's really beautiful stuff! I love the idea of colouring the gold like that, I've never seen it before (must have been looking in the wrong places!).