Tag Archives: goldwork

Last year…

So many blog posts get partly written in my head, usually when I’m driving, when I have time to think about it but not actually do it……and then a month goes by, and another month…….

There’s always something else pressing, like ‘life and stuff’. I’ve been sucked into Facebook (a bit late to the party, resisting all the way, but now I’ve become quite an addict). And I think there’s also a loss of momentum with blogging, and wondering who is out there reading it. FB is so quick and immediate; just toss in a photo and a couple of sentences, and job’s a good’un. There’s an argument in my head between the appeal of the instant click and share, and the enjoyment of longer reflections and ramblings with time to explore thoughts and ideas. But if I always aim for longer reflections then this may be part of the reason why I don’t get round to doing it, so maybe I need to start again with shorter simpler posts. Anyway, to get started again I thought I’d just post some a few random photos of what I’ve been up to since my last post.

A lovely course with Hilary Beattie: print, dye, collage and stitch.

Playing with colour

Goldwork poppy, my entry for the Embroiderers Guild ‘Page 17’ Exhibition. Each entry is inspired by Page 17 of a chosen book – in my case W Keble-Martin’s ‘The Concise British Flora in Colour’

Some simple Christmas tree decorations. A bit naff maybe?

Goldwork: gold-foiled silk, couched ‘Jap’, edging machined with metallic thread on soluble fabric.

I can’t seem to leave goldwork alone…I always want to do ‘just one more’.

Oh OK, one more then…

From a course with Alexandra Waylett. A lovely day.

This is going back a bit now, but I think I posted it as work in progress but never put the finished thing on here.

Unexpected holes under the house are very distracting. We are surrounded by a sea of mud, while the path and terrace are being drilled/dug up. It’s amazing how much time and energy these things absorb.

Oh, and another distraction is that I’ve been working on a new website for Worthing Tuesday Embroiderers Guild. It’s had more attention than my own website, so do check it out here.

That’s all for now. It would be great to know who reads this. I know from Google Analytics that people do visit, but I’d love to know who you are so do leave a comment. ‘Toodle Pip’.




There’s something about the sparkle of metal thread that keeps drawing me back to it. Perhaps I was a magpie in a former life? Here’s an update on the piece that I was working on some time ago, based on motifs from Indian textiles. I’ll just show you some details rather than the whole finished piece, because it will be going into our exhibition in May – but once it is up on the wall then I’ll post pictures of the finished thing. I’m working on several other pieces alongside it, but this particular one has been quite time-consuming so it’s good to see it finally coming together. I really wanted to do something that was purely decorative and not ‘conceptual’ in any way. I prefer not to use an embroidery hoop where I can avoid it, so working on thick felt makes that easier as it isn’t too floppy. Unfortunately it makes it hard to photograph. Something about the way felt absorbs light seems to drain the colour out of the photo, so it either looks dull or harsh. The colours are better in real life, honest! I’ll post some of the other pieces that I’m working on in another post quite soon.

On the subject of bling, I ran a day workshop on goldwork last week for the West Sussex Federation of Women’s Institutes. They have regular craft days that are open to all the different local branches. It’s an opportunity to get together and learn something – and yes, some stitching did go on in between the chatting! I enjoyed teaching such a friendly and welcoming group, and their enthusiasm was lovely. I offered the choice of working from my design, or ‘going off-piste’ and working more spontaneously. Three people chose to work from the design and nine chose to work spontaneously. I have seen people getting quite stressed with goldwork because of the emphasis on ‘perfection’ and the difficulty of achieving that in the early stages. It’s hard to try to produce something perfect when you’re learning the techniques, and the traditional plain silk backing really emphasises any little mistakes. The idea of doing it more ‘free-form’ is to let the materials dictate the shapes, so that there is no ‘right or wrong’ place to position each piece. As I explained, the design did not need to be any more challenging than starting with a zig-zag or a wiggle, then letting those develop to complement the first lines, and then filling in spaces. Several people produced pieces that looked quite ‘art nouveau’ in their shapes, because they let the materials ‘flow’ quite naturally.

Working like that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and I did explain that it was abit of an experiment, but I was impressed that so many were willing to give it a go. The people who worked from a design also produced some pleasing results.

Now I must focus on finishing off the half-done pieces for the exhibition in May. Just to remind you, it’s from Fri 6th May to Sat 21st May (Tuesday to Saturday) 10.00 to 5.00, at The Studio Gallery at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery. See the ‘FIVE’ page on this website for more details.



Workshop On The Web Article

Jane Robinson 3D Goldwork Fossil Rock

Jane Robinson 3D Goldwork Fossil Rock

I’m pleased to say that I’ve just had an article published in the on-line magazine ‘Workshop on the Web’ (Edited by Maggie Grey). I am a subscriber to Workshop on the Web and have enjoyed many a good article and workshop, so I was delighted to be invited to contribute. I was asked to write about one of my finished pieces in the Diploma in Stitched Textiles (Embroidery) course exhibition, which Sam Packer for WoW had seen last year. I had put this piece into the Festival of Quilts (Quilt Creations Category) this summer, so it seemed a good idea to choose this one. The article is split into two parts – the first covers piecing and patching the fabrics and dyeing them, and the second covers adding the gold-work fossils and manipulating it into a 3D piece.

Gold-work Trilobite

Gold-work Trilobite


What I couldn’t show in the article is that the rock is designed to ‘levitate’ and float in the air. To see it floating, click here.

If you’re not already a subscriber to Workshop on the Web (or WoW as people call it) then I do recommend it – not only because I’m in it!

The History of English Embroidery

A visit to Parham House in Sussex has just reminded me of the wonderful embroideries on display there. They have an impressive collection of stumpwork pictures, as well as tapestries and furnishings. Parham House has a generous attitude to photography, allowing photos provided no flash is used. What a boon for anyone who enjoys the History of English Embroidery – it means you can look at the images in more detail than you can get in a postcard. As well as embroideries, there are some fantastic examples shown in portraits. I love the way the artist has captured the texture of the velvet, shown in the top photo, and the way the pile captures the light. It is quite amazing that although so few actual examples of Elizabethan embroideries still exist, we have such a good idea of what they looked like through portraits. This is such a good example, showing gold-work and silk shaded fantasy flowers in the swirling designs that the Elizabethans loved so much.

Portrait said to be of Elizabeth I.

The one above is said to be of Elizabeth I, although art historians question this as the shape of her face is different from other portraits of her. Anyway, whoever she is, just look at the detail in the starched Reticella lace collar, and the mad little silk-worms embroidered on her dress.



This poor soul looks like she could be quite spirited, if she could only move her head!

A question for you

Now, I have a question. As part of the City and Guilds Diploma in Stitched Textiles (Embroidery), everyone does a big project on The History of English Embroidery. I loved doing mine; I got completely engrossed in it, and it ran to 100 A3 pages. I would rather not know how long it actually took! Now after all that work it is shut away in a cupboard, which seems abit of a waste. When I was doing it I came across some fantastic books written by specialists in their field which tended to be on very specific areas, such as a particular technique or an era. I found relatively few that had a complete overview (except for the wonderful book by Lanto Synge that includes the whole of Western Europe). What I was also looking for was something that was relatively short and simple, and contained more of a summary that would give an ‘overview’ before delving into the more rarefied professional tomes. Then when we had our C&G end of course show I noticed that other C&G students wanted to photograph pages from our finished projects, as a starting point for their own project. So I wonder if there’s any interest in me putting it all on the website so that anyone who is interested can see it? It’s no substitute for studying the specialist books by the professional textile historians (or preferably seeing the originals) but it may be useful as a starting-point.

I’d need to scan it page by page, so I thought I’d see first if there’s any interest. What do you think?



Goldwork embroidery: 3D floating fossil rock

This embroidered floating fossil rock was a Goldwork piece for the City and Guilds Diploma in Stitched Textiles (Embroidery). It uses traditional metal thread techniques. Silk and viscose velvet was dyed with Procion dye, and the ‘veins’ in the rock were machine-stitched with Madeira FS20 thread in black and gold. The goldwork fossils are stitched with traditional metal thread techniques (leather kid, jap, purls and pearl purl) and the fabric is then scrunched and tweaked into the 3D rock. It floats on electro-magnets, using ‘Levitron Fascinations EZ float’ technology.

I hope you enjoy it.