Metalwork, often referred to as Goldwork, is a method of surface embroidery that incorporates the use of metal threads – gold, copper, silver, bronze, and non-natural metallic colors. Early literary sources reference gold threads and textiles, including the Old Testament (Exodus 39:3) and the Homeric epics (Iliad and the Odyssey). Metalwork has deep roots in the symbolism of cultural, political, and religious ornaments, vestments, and garments of the uppermost stratas of societies, implying wealth, power, and status. Metalwork embroidery obtains luxurious looks and elicits the feel of splendor. Today we see traditional metalwork techniques being used in religious institutions, the military, ceremonial regalia, and fashion; it is practiced by embroiderer’s as the most elegant of the needlearts.
Metalwork is a form of surface embroidery where most of the metal threads are laid or couched down with a second finer thread, producing sumptuous plays of light off of the raised sculpturing, and flat stitched patterns and textures. The course will discuss periods, techniques, and styles of metalwork, particularly:
- Opus Anglicanum
- Costumes and Fashion
- Regalia and Religious
Metalwork is a very sculptural and tactile style of embroidery. It is a technique that requires structure and discipline as well as regular practice; time will be given in class to practice the techniques, including:
- Padding using string, wool and felt
- Couching Methods
- Thread types, varieties, and properties
- Leather and appliqué
- Cut work
- Or Nué
- Overall best practices
The Metalwork Concentration yields knowledge of the fundamentals of metalwork, it’s padding, the use and placement of the threads to create texture and play of light, as well as the technical skill to apply the stitching onto flat and sculptured surfaces. Students will finish this concentration with backgrounds in the history of the technique, proper uses of the technique, an understanding on how to design for metalwork, and the many thread options available.
Prior to the course start date, each student will receive a pack of detailed course instructions, describing the course, required pre-work, class schedules, and an equipment list.
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