I have really enjoyed the summer (August) break from classes but now I am more than ready to get back into RSN stitching. Truthfully most of the month of August was not much of a break and my embroidery time has been filled with completing my Mixed Whitework and Silkshading pieces from last term. I am now down to finalising the extensive notes, samples, swatches, timesheets and feedback forms that need to accompany the embroidered piece as it is handed in for assessment.
When the RSN moved to ‘online only’ classes for all Future Tutor students from the commencement of the lockdown it was a big change, however as the term and lockdown progressed we certainly became more accomplished at using technology such as Zoom and WhatsApp to communicate both visually and verbally with our tutors and classmates. There were a number pertinent learnings from conducting embroidery classes this way and a key one of these for me was how easy it is to lose any sense of the scale of an embroidered piece, particularly when only seeing high resolution close up shots.
Overall being forced to adapt to online learning was a tremendous experience and hopefully will stand us all in good stead as we move forward with building our Embroidery teaching careers. I can certainly envisage opportunities to incorporate more technology into my practice as I establish an RSN satellite on my return to Australia.
Under the banner of ‘Mixed Whitework Techniques’ I have completed 3 separate embroideries with each incorporating a number of techniques. The first of these has Broderie Anglaise and Richelieu Cutwork elements, so lots of eyelets and some buttonhole bars over cut out areas. I took my design inspiration from the traditional floral and butterfly motifs seen on linens and handkerchiefs and also incorporated padded satin stitch and trailing for texture and contrast. A small part of this design can be seen above.
The second Whitework technique I have worked is Shadow Work, this is a sampler which has both white-on-white and coloured elements. I had originally designed this piece during Spring when the Robins were regularly visiting our bird feeder to feed their babies and this became my inspiration.
The final technique is a piece combing Pulled Work and Drawn Thread bands. In my last blog post I showed you a picture of the unfinished center of this design showing a map of Australia. I have now surrounded this center with Drawn Thread bands, the design of which is intended to echo the finely and artistically engraved borders of ancient maps, along with woven seashells in the worked corners. I have really enjoyed embroidering this piece.
The other assessable piece of embroidery work that I have been finishing recently is a botanical silk shading of a Waterlily. I have shown you an ‘in progress’ photo of this in a previous post, and now it is finished and ready for a final check over by our lovely tutor Debra. Then I will begin the fun task of stretching and mounting this – along with each of the whitework pieces. With strong card cut to size and covered, out will come the wicked curved needle – which always manages to prick my finger somehow!
Term 1 of my second year at the RSN has now commenced and we have started this term with an Adult Education Training module in conjunction with Kingston College, so lots of learning theory to research. Next week will be Art and Design classes, and then it is on to embroidered box construction. Another big term coming up!