Since I graduated last summer I have been interning for Bath based designer Joe Richards. I have been working with Joe on hand embroidery for his Pre + Autumn/Winter collections. This has included embroidering many samples to develop the embroidery ideas for the collection and embroidering the final garments. This season Joe has also been doing a collaboration with John Smedley so all of the knit pieces in the collection are from the collaboration. The pieces that I have hand embroidered polo necks, jumpers, cardigans and a coat, as well as socks in three different colours. They are all embroidered with extra long glass and metallic bugle beads in a variety of colours and patterns. Below I have included photos of these garments and some images of the garments in the process of being embroidered.
The collection has already been shown in a press preview and will also be shown at London fashion week later this month.
Go to http://www.byjoerichards.com/ to see the full collection.
I embroidered this bee for a Christmas card but as a change to just showing the finished piece, I photographed each stage of the embroidery. Goldwork embroidery is quite a fascinating process especially if you are not familiar with the technique. There are a lot of hidden parts such as the padding which can take just as long as the visible embroidery especially in larger goldwork pieces. The goldwork threads used are interesting as well and quite different to threads used in other embroidery techniques, often they do not contain a very high percentage of gold or silver but they create a brilliant effect.
The first step is padding which is what allows you to achieve the raised effect often seen in goldwork. For this bee I used four layers of felt for the bottom segment and three layers for the top segment. The bottom layer of felt is the smallest and gradually gets larger to form the shape of the padded area. There is a piece of pearle purl being added here because I forgot to photograph this stage before starting the next.
The next step is adding outlines. These are created with pearle purl in silver and gold.
Once all the outlines are complete goldwork threads are added to cover the padding. These include rough purl, smooth purl and check purl. They are hollow so the length of thread required is measured and cut and then strung onto thread and stitched on.
Next the remaining areas are filled in with chipping which is created from small pieces of cut up check purl in silver and gold sewn on individually.
For the final stage the copper pearl purl is used for the legs and antennae...and the embroidery is complete!
I was interviewed by Vichy Ly from Sincerely last week about my work, traditional hand embroidery techniques and new technologies. Vichy is a fashion graduate from Berlin, her own work is very beautiful and includes a lot of hand embroidery. She is also a talented photographer and the Sincerely website is beautifully designed, I highly recommend that you take a look. If you are interested in reading the interview, click here.
On Monday I finished the whitework Hydrangea I have been working on recently. This piece was designed so that I could learn most of the vital techniques of whitework. Apart from drawn thread work which I didn't feel would work with this design all of the techniques are covered. These include pulled thread work, outline techniques and decorative stitches. The embroidery is worked on evenweave linen as the pulled thread work and many of the decorative stitches are counted stitches, which means you count the threads of the fabric to create a pattern. The Hydrangea was drawn from a photo I took whilst at Dutch Design week last year, one of the exhibitors had beautiful floral displays in her handmade glass vases.
I recently registered for the annual Hand and Lock prize, and as I am currently on a short break from interning with Joe Richards, I have been working on drawings and embroidery samples for this project.
I recently acquired a box of beads and sequins which included some unusual sequin shapes, these inspired me to create a series of embroidered insects. Many of the sequins were perfect shapes to become wings or beetle bodies. In addition to the sequins I used small pieces of goldwork threads for the legs. These embroideries may eventually become part of a larger project which I am currently working on.
Currently, I am interning for Joe Richards, I worked with Joe throughout my final university project, first on beading for his Autumn/Winter 2016 collection and then sample pieces such as the t-shirt below, which is printed with an original William Morris design, which I then embroidered with shell beads. Now I am working on embroidery for Joe's Spring/Summer 2017 collection, this involves working with Joe to develop embroidery samples and eventually embroider the final garments. It is great to be so involved with this current collection. Alongside this I am working on a few embroidery samples of my own, but more on those another time.