Stitching , Stitching, Stitching……..Goldwork.

Continuing on my Future Tutor journey, the focus for the first half of the Second term has been on the techniques of traditional Goldwork – learning how to handle, stitch, and store metal threads. All Future Tutor students are required to complete a set piece of Goldwork which has three of symbols that have been worked at the RSN since it’s earliest days.

3 Gold Symbols

Traditional RSN embroidered work, from the RSN collection.

I have been stitching the three symbols across the top row of this piece.

The aim of the module has been to produce a embroidered piece that can be used as a teaching sample for any future Goldwork classes, so leaving half of each design element partially worked allows the method of working to be clearly seen. Interestingly this piece has taken the greatest number of hours to work so far even though we actually only complete half of each symbol in the design.

The Symbols we stitched are those traditionally used in “church work”. These are embroidered elements that are often found within the decorative work on vestments, banners, and various alter adornments.


The pomegranate fruit is shown split open with the ‘pips’ or seeds exposed. This piece uses filament silk in deep red to satin stitch over the raised pips.


The crown has Jewels surrounded by S-ing (also sometimes called in embroidery books – Essing).

Fleur de Lys

This element gave lots of practice in goldwork basketweave but also had us making our own twisted cord.


While each stitched element is not fully worked, the entire piece must be fully stretched and card mounted prior to handing in. The process of mounting Goldwork can take a significant amount of time as great care must be taken so that the work is not damaged during the process. Bubblewrap is your friend for this step! Thankfully I have now finished and the piece is ready to hand in on the last day of the term.

Enjoying the Mid term break

I rounded out the first half of this second term with a birthday celebration which included a 3 day visit to Bath, and lovely stay in a very well located traditional BnB ( Three Abbey Green) with a generous ‘cooked to order’ full English breakfast each day. Particular highlights in Bath being the beautiful city centre, the parks, the River, the Fashion Museum (lots of spectacular Embroidery here) and the Roman Baths. A must do trip!

Now it is on to Blackwork…..

By Sally

Passionate embroiderer who loves to learn and pass on fine hand embroidery skills.


  1. Oh Sally, how absolutely beautiful!! You must be so pleased with your work! Bravo for doing all that work so quickly and so accurately! Wow! I now understand why we haven’t heard from you till now!
    So pleased you were able to take a break – Bath is one of our favourite places. Last time we went to the Fashion Museum I was photographing one of the magnificent gloves on display when I spotted a moth in the cabinet!! I reported it so that it could be dealt with – never thought they’d have insect problems too! Are you being taught conservation methods as part of the course?
    Enjoy your blackwork classes after all the shiny, springy goldwork!
    Cheers, Vanda

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  2. I am sure you deserved those English breakfasts after that gold work. So wonderful to read your words and see your progress. My favourite is the pomegranate. Stay well and safe. Enjoy Spring. With best wishes. Joanne

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  3. Your goldwork is exquisite Sally and I’m glad you were able to take a break in one of my favourite places—Bath. I’m so envious that you are seeing all the Daffodils and Snowdrops being in flower . Enjoy your next term and keep well. Often think of you.

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