A closer look at Modern Goldwork – One

As it was such an interesting and useful two days, I thought I would write a bit more about my course with Tracy Franklin on Modern Goldwork. We worked samples of various techniques, each demonstrated by Tracy before we began. I don’t want to make the posts too long, so I will only put two techniques in each post.

Kid Leather Twists

Kid Leather Twists

The base for our Modern Goldwork sampler was a sturdy but loosely-woven cotton upholstery fabric. We began by pulling out evenly spaced threads to mark the fabric into squares. Then in each square we worked a different technique.

The first square had Kid leather strips edged with unstretched  pearl purl and then twisted. The twists were then couched in place. It was surprisingly difficult to attach the pearl purl to the edge of the leather, but creates an interesting variation as by twisting the strips, a glimpse of the back of the leather is provided, matte in contrast to the shiny metallised surface that is intended to be seen.

This technique might provide me with the gold in some jewellery for the Amarna panels as a change from simply using gold embroidery thread.

Purl Rose

Purl Rose

The second square shows a flower shape made of loops of purl which are threaded onto the needle like beads. There are three different colours of purl, using gradually longer lengths to make larger, slightly floppier petals. The small, closely packed loops in the centre show that this technique could be used to create a very solid, shiny, “curly” texture.

I find myself thinking maybe when I’ve got the Amarna panels done, I could work on a panel about the legend of the Golden Fleece. Just imagine a whole fleece shape covered in that dense, looped surface!


  1. Janice says:

    Gorgeous, Rachel. I can see how this will be so useful for your Amarna panels. Yes, can also imagine a Golden Fleece but feel I need to reign you in and beg you to complete one epic legend series before starting another! Even Spielberg only works on one at a time, you know!!

  2. Lady Fi says:

    Wow… once again I realize that there is so much more to this whole sewing business! It’s a work of art!

  3. karen says:

    I really adore goldwork. I did some last year for a competition, (didn’t win) but had so much fun doing it. I tend to use silver and purl purl is so lovely to work with.

  4. Julie says:

    How fun, Rachel! The results are lovely, and a wonderful approach to ‘thinking outside of the box’ with goldwork.

  5. Elmsley Rose says:

    Fascinating! Thankyou for talking about these different techniques.
    I don’t know where I’d use the twisted leather with purl technique, but I love it!