Summer of Goldwork

This past summer I worked on two goldwork projects:

  • Leaves of Gold by Kelley Aldridge as part of the RSN Summer School.
  • Japanese Cherry Blossoms by Jane Nicholas as part of the EGA National Seminar.
Leaves of Gold, design by Kelley Aldridge
Japanese Cherry Blossoms, design by Jane Nicholas

Goldwork Techniques

The Leaves of Gold project had three types of padding.

I’ve done felt padding before, where pieces of felt are layered to achieve a curved surface.

Felt padding

New to me, this project introduced me to hard padding using a waxed cord

Hard padding

And soft padding using a cotton yarn that is waxed in order to be manipulated.

Soft padding

The project used Japanese and Rococo threads for the outlines of the stems and inside the leaves. The gold threads are couched onto the fabric using sewing thread.

Japanese thread over the hard padding
Japanese thread and rococo thread on the stem outlines

The leaves also had rough purl, and chipping (cutwork) and broad plate.

  • Rough purl is a coiled tube that can be cut and attached like a bead. The needle and thread go through the purl.
  • Chipping is down with a checked purl (very textured, catches the light really well) that is cut in small pieces (one or two millimeters) hence the name “cutwork” and attached with needle and thread like a bead in a random pattern.
  • Broad plate is a metal ribbon that is attached with thread as it is folded onto itself. The folds hide the thread.
Rough Purl over the soft padding
Broad plate over the felt padding

The broad plate was new to me as well as the s-ing of purls to make them look like stem stitch.

S-ing of check and rough purl in the middle of the stems, small outlines on pearl purl
S-ing with rough purl and spangles.

The Japanese Cherry Blossoms included some Or Nué (thread shading on the gold threads) and some felt padding in the leaves with rough purl and chipping (cutwork.) Pearl purl was used for the outline of the shapes.

Japanese Cherry Blossom in progress

The Or Nué shading is done as the gold thread is laid onto the fabric

Or Nué shading in progress.

The Leaves of Gold design was exclusive to Kelley’s class.

But the Japanese Plum Blossom can be seen in Jane’s new book, Japanese Motifs in Stumpwork and Goldwork. It includes the pattern, instructions, etc.

Jane Nicholas’s Book
Chapter 5 of the book is the Plum Blossom

I think goldwork is becoming my second favorite type of embroidery after whitework.

It is full of texture and it’s so showy! I feel like I need to frame each project.


Author: emptyThimble

Embroidery and other fiber arts

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