Stories in Stitch


Guest blog post by Emma Doggart See your favourite stories brought to life with the Art of Hand Embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework(RSN) at Hampton Court Palace. The latest exhibition, showcases a wide range of hand embroideries in Appliqué, Stumpwork and Raised Embroidery, featuring pieces from the RSN’s Archive Collection and its students. Visitors can immerse themselves in these three enchanting techniques which lend themselves so perfectly to the world of storytelling. Whether the piece tells the whole story or just a vignette, visitors will be captivated by embroideries based on songs, nursery rhymes, film scenes and ranging from the mythical to the domestic. Princess & the Pea by RSN Future Tutor Graduate, Deborah Wilding, Stumpwork The historic heart of the exhibition will feature two 17th century pieces in Stumpwork when this technique was at its most popular, including details of how they were worked and how the colours have now changed. It will then sweep into the 20th and 21st centuries using the range of themes in Stumpwork and Appliqué covered by our current RSN Diploma, Future Tutor and Degree students. The exhibition will also include Raised Embroidery featuring more three-dimensional objects, for example in jewellery. The RSN’s ‘Stories in Stitch’ exhibition Until 31 March 2017. Tours start from £16. Individuals, groups and families are welcome. or contact Natalie Thew on +44(0)20 3166 6939 (Booking is essential). The Royal School of Needlework is the international centre of excellence for the art of hand embroidery. With a thriving education programme, the RSN offers a range of courses for beginners through to advanced. Students can choose to study short courses, a Certificate & Diploma, BA (Hons) Degree or gain a teaching qualification on the Future Tutor programme. 1b Notes on techniques Appliqué is the use of overlaid fabrics and stitch to create an embroidered picture, usually narrative and any subject can be featured. Parts of the work may be padded, depending upon the subject matter. Appliqué is taught on the RSN Diploma where students can include many of the techniques learned on the Certificate. Careful selection of materials can really add to the impact of Appliqué. Stumpwork was at its height in the first half of the 17th century and featured people, animals and often external settings (trees, mounds, brooks etc). The pieces were often worked in panels and were used to cover boxes, mirror surrounds or as decorative panels. The technique went out of favour until comparatively recently, when it has enjoyed a resurgence. At the RSN, Stumpwork is an advanced technique of the Diploma and it focuses on creating figures, with head, hair, hands and feet being particularly important in how the piece is worked. In addition, the clothing of Stumpwork figures is worked in needlelace, a delicate stitch which can give a knitted appearance. Raised Embroidery is work which has a three-dimensional aspect to it. This means it can incorporate both Appliqué and Stumpwork, but may also include other techniques and approaches, such as metals for jewellery.

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