HNW - Stumpwork fiondel at
Sun Sep 27 08:44:06 PDT 1998

At 10:37 AM 9/27/98 +0000, you wrote:
>DetlaS at aol. com  wrote:
>>What is stumpwork?

>Stumpwork: The Art of Raised Embroidery by Muriel L. Baker
>Stumpwork: Historical and Contemporary Raised Embroidery by Muriel 

This weekend, a couple of friends of mine brought me "Embroidery
Masterworks," (Virginia Churchill Bath, c.1972, Henry Regency Company,
Library of Congress # 72-183818 [no ISBN]).  This is a WAY cool book.
On pages 19-27, there are a great many pictures and a discussion
of an altar frontal from the Burgo de Osma altar set, circa 1468.

One of the best things about this work (at least from MY perspective)
is that there are a few spots where the stitchery has worn off/come
loose, and one can see the material underneath that was used for
the "raised effect."  In this case, it appears to be a type of heavy
cording.  (One of you weaving/rope making/knot doing folks out there
want to discuss what this cording could have been made of?)

The description says that the "sculptural effect [is] achieved by 
the gold couched passing threads, which were worked over cording."
Earlier, the author describes gold-over-silk thread as "passing"
thread, so that's no problem.  Well, yes it is, 'cause I can't
afford gold thread, but that's another problem.  :)  Anyway, I don't
see anything in this close up that even remotely resembles couching.
It *looks* as though the gold thread was satin stitched around the
cording.  I can't find any of the "attaching" threads that one 
would associate with couching.  Any ideas, anyone?  Or is this
just a difference in terminology?  The raised effect is mostly 
utilized for the columns and arches that are used to "frame" the
individual subjects of the piece.  The top left, for example,
is a nativity scene, set off by these raised arches and columns.
The "architectural" look of this piece is just amazing.

Now, since altar frontals are not particularly in use in our
current middle ages, if I can only figure out what to USE this
technique for, I'll be all set.  :)


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