When researching medieval textiles, one often comes across ecclesiastical items. These were, after all, more likely to survive. I hope the images are useful.
Gold couching embroidery: stitch focus video
Dr Alexandra Malkin, textile archaeologist and professional embroiderer, shows the detailed progress of couching the gold halo of her Cuthbert Maniple.
Photos of embroidered mitre (1514) taken in 2019 in the Residenzschloss Dresden
Museum photos: 1584-90 doublet and hose (Dresden)
Doublet and hose belonging to the Saxon Electoral Regalia.
c.1584-90, outer fabric Italian, tailoring Dresden, Electoral tailor’s workshop. Warp-faced satin, warp crimson silk, weft light salmon silk, pinking pattern with cut warp threads, the weft threads being left intact. Trim: crimson silk velvet (faded).
Dresden Residenzschloss Museum
Video: Beginner’s guide to brocaded tablet weaving
When I taught myself brocaded tablet weaving, I was looking for videos that would show the basic steps, and visualise some of the process that seemed difficult to follow when reading them written down. I couldn’t find any, so I produced my own. I hope these how-to videos are useful.
I have read many tablet weaving publications, and my favourite one for history of brocaded tablet weaving, historical patterns, and especially technique is Spies, N. (2000) Ecclesiastical Pomp & Aristocratic Circumstance: A Thousand Years of Brocaded Tabletwoven Bands, Jarrettsville: Arelate Studio. Available for purchase as PDF on Etsy and Nancy’s website.
Videos: key steps during brocaded tablet weaving
I created a short video that focuses on the key steps involved in brocaded tablet weaving: silk thread shuttle, followed by picking of the pattern, then gold thread shuttle through temporary weft. I find brocaded tablet weaving much easier than the normal one, as there is no complicated turning of individual or groups of tablets involved.
I also created a video that shows the steps taken for neat edges, which avoid gold loops showing.
Project Management for practice research
I took part in a Project Management workshop. I hadn’t been sure what to expect, as I’d never got to grips with the MS Project software, and was pleasantly surprised at how our trainer used the sticky-note activity (and many more hands-on ones), which fit my way of thinking.
One of the trickiest parts of my research has been to figure out how to proceed with the artefact creation. What would I need to do first? What was essential to complete before moving onto the next step? How long would it all take? And so on. Of course, at this stage all of the duration for each task are estimates. One would think that after a lifetime of sewing and embroidering I would have looked at the hours it took me, but unfortunately I had not.
Creating a network diagram with coloured sticky notes on cheap IKEA kids’ drawing paper taped together, then using pens to work out the connections, has been an excellent exercise in focusing on the tasks required for creating the first Object and its components. The red line indicated the critical path. Unsurprisingly that’s the embroidery.
1586 Lauenberger Fuerstengruft: silk velvet and metal embroidered coat
1586 coat of Duke Duke Wilhelm V, silk velvet, heavily embroidered with a variety of gold and silver threads. Found in the Lauenburger crypt and displayed in the Bavarian National Museum in Munich. Tradition has it that Duke Wilhelm wore this coat at his wedding with Duchess Renata of Lorraine.
Please note that photos have been adjusted via increased highlight and brightness. Full set on Flickr: