HNW - Blackwork One Person's Opinion - Long

Linn Skinner skinner02 at sprynet.com
Wed Aug 5 20:34:15 PDT 1998


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Fellow enthusiasts, I see we are again discussing "blackwork".  This is =
a theory I use to start discussion when I teach blackwork as a =
technique.

WHAT IS BLACKWORK?

I have tried to carefully define my personal theory of this catchall =
sort of phrase .... I agree with some people on some aspects and not on =
others. Some of my opinions have been garnered from classes or from =
reading and others from personal observation. Like anyone else who has a =
theory, mine is just that, a collection of opinions. I do urge everyone =
to look at every example they see labeled as "blackwork" and at =
embroidery in general and to develop their own personal theories. I'll =
be interested in hearing them all. My opinions are seldom carved in =
stone, they are prone to change if a better opinion comes along.

ERA OF EXECUTION

There have been two distinct periods when embroidery identified as =
'blackwork" has been popular. First in the 16th/17th century or the =
Historic Period and secondly in the 20th century Revival or Modern =
Period. One must define a period before one can talk about the design =
elements appropriate to this sort of embroidery.

ESIGN ELEMENTS

Two sorts of design elements are commonly used in all periods: outlining =
or defining elements and filling elements.

OUTLINING ELEMENTS

Outlining elements are either curvilinear or geometric in nature. =
Curvilinear elements are found in both historic and modern periods but =
most predominately in the historic period. Geometric outlining elements =
are most favored in the modern period. However, examples of both sorts =
of elements are found in historic pieces and in revival period pieces.

FILLING ELEMENTS

Filling elements can be random, diaper, repeat or linear. Random =
elements are found in the Historic Period exclusively (in my experience =
to date). These are the seeding or speckling stitches done to imitate =
shading of engravings used in Historic Period embroidery.

Areas may also be filled in a solid fashion by various stitches such as =
stem, braid, chain or other stitches or couched metallic threads.

Diaper elements are those patterns in which one sees horizontal, =
vertical and true diagonal lines, when turned from the original position =
to 90=B0 or 45=B0. When turned 90 degrees, the original pattern does not =
change.

Repeat elements are those where the motifs are separated, but repeated, =
making a diaper br or an offset repeat.

Linear elements are patterns in which one sees horizontal, vertical, =
diagonal or oblique stripes.

APPROPRIATE MATERIALS

HISTORIC PERIOD

In the 16th/17th century blackwork designs would most likely have been =
executed on either silk or linen fabric with black silk and metallic =
threads although designs are found in reds, blues and greens.  Although =
designs were well and carefully stitched, they were not always executed =
in a counted technique.

On clothing items, the favored color was black on white. When the same =
designs were executed on samplers or household linens, they may be found =
in pastels or other colors (green, red, etc.).

MODERN PERIOD

Today blackwork designs are found in all sorts of colors and executed =
with many different fibers. It is great fun to experiment with various =
fibers and fabrics. If geometric designs are to be executed, a fabric in =
which the threads (evenweaves or linens) or the elements (Aida or =
Hardanger) can be counted is utilized so the designs are executed in a =
precise manner.


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<DIV>
<P><FONT size=3D2>Fellow enthusiasts, I see we are again discussing=20
&quot;blackwork&quot;.&nbsp; This is a theory I use to start discussion =
when I=20
teach blackwork as a technique.</FONT></P>
<P>WHAT IS BLACKWORK?</P>
<P>I have tried to carefully define my personal theory of this catchall =
sort of=20
phrase .... I agree with some people on some aspects and not on others. =
Some of=20
my opinions have been garnered from classes or from reading and others =
from=20
personal observation. Like anyone else who has a theory, mine is just =
that, a=20
collection of opinions. I do urge everyone to look at every example they =
see=20
labeled as &quot;blackwork&quot; and at embroidery in general and to =
develop=20
their own personal theories. I'll be interested in hearing them all. My =
opinions=20
are seldom carved in stone, they are prone to change if a better opinion =
comes=20
along.</P>
<P>ERA OF EXECUTION</P>
<P>There have been two distinct periods when embroidery identified as=20
'blackwork&quot; has been popular. First in the 16th/17th century or the =

Historic Period and secondly in the 20th century Revival or Modern =
Period. One=20
must define a period before one can talk about the design elements =
appropriate=20
to this sort of embroidery.</P>
<P>ESIGN ELEMENTS</P>
<P>Two sorts of design elements are commonly used in all periods: =
outlining or=20
defining elements and filling elements.</P>
<P>OUTLINING ELEMENTS</P>
<P>Outlining elements are either curvilinear or geometric in nature. =
Curvilinear=20
elements are found in both historic and modern periods but most =
predominately in=20
the historic period. Geometric outlining elements are most favored in =
the modern=20
period. However, examples of both sorts of elements are found in =
historic pieces=20
and in revival period pieces.</P>
<P>FILLING ELEMENTS</P>
<P>Filling elements can be random, diaper, repeat or linear. Random =
elements are=20
found in the Historic Period exclusively (in my experience to date). =
These are=20
the seeding or speckling stitches done to imitate shading of engravings =
used in=20
Historic Period embroidery.</P>
<P>Areas may also be filled in a solid fashion by various stitches such =
as stem,=20
braid, chain or other stitches or couched metallic threads.</P>
<P>Diaper elements are those patterns in which one sees horizontal, =
vertical and=20
true diagonal lines, when turned from the original position to 90&deg; =
or=20
45&deg;. When turned 90 degrees, the original pattern does not =
change.</P>
<P>Repeat elements are those where the motifs are separated, but =
repeated,=20
making a diaper br or an offset repeat.</P>
<P>Linear elements are patterns in which one sees horizontal, vertical, =
diagonal=20
or oblique stripes.</P>
<P>APPROPRIATE MATERIALS</P>
<P>HISTORIC PERIOD</P>
<P>In the 16th/17th century blackwork designs would most likely have =
been=20
executed on either silk or linen fabric with black silk and metallic =
threads=20
although designs are found in reds, blues and greens.&nbsp; Although =
designs=20
were well and carefully stitched, they were not always executed in a =
counted=20
technique.</P>
<P>On clothing items, the favored color was black on white. When the =
same=20
designs were executed on samplers or household linens, they may be found =
in=20
pastels or other colors (green, red, etc.).</P>
<P>MODERN PERIOD</P>
<P>Today blackwork designs are found in all sorts of colors and executed =
with=20
many different fibers. It is great fun to experiment with various fibers =
and=20
fabrics. If geometric designs are to be executed, a fabric in which the =
threads=20
(evenweaves or linens) or the elements (Aida or Hardanger) can be =
counted is=20
utilized so the designs are executed in a precise=20
manner.</P></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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