A Closer Look at Modern Goldwork – Five

Bark Effect

Bark Effect

For this panel, Tracy told us to think of tree bark and then to use stretched and unstretched pearl purl of different weights couched to create a bark pattern of light and heavy lines.

I really enjoyed this for some reason. The pearl purl is stiff and springy, and doesn’t feel as fragile as some of the other metallic materials.

Shisha Variation

Shisha Variation

The second panel shows an adaptation of shisha work. The “mirror” is in fact a circle cut from a piece of metal foil, and the “stitches” holding it in place are made using check purl. This looks clumsier than I would have liked. Partly, no doubt, because it is not an easy technique even with the standard materials, and I leapt straight in with non-standard materials. Partly also, I think, because having decided to do this I should then have picked a finer purl to use for the “stitches”. It might have been easier to achieve the effect I want if I had thought through my choice of materials. I recall also that the metal foil was flexible and tricky to keep in place while I worked the “stitches” over it.

Note to self: Next time, try the standard technique using the classic materials before making life more difficult for yourself!

I think it is fair to say we all had a wonderful time on the course. Never having worked with metallic threads before, I think the Modern Goldwork course provided an entertaining introduction, whereas it is possible that going straight into classic goldwork might have proved a little scary!


  1. Janice says:

    I lo0ve your bark piece, Rachel. It’s gorgeous. As for the shisha mirror – I love Indian fabrics and embroidery and would love to have a go at this, and to do so with those lovely spicy Indian colours. Your first attempt doesn’t look ‘clumsy’. It looks like what it is: an adaptation of a technique using a much thicker thread than usual. Like you, I prefer the standard technique but this is about taking it and seeing where it goes.

  2. Shelley says:

    I really like the shisha adaptation ………………