The Beauty of the Art of Ecclesiastical Embroidery

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The Beauty of the Art of Ecclesiastical Embroidery

 The Beauty of the Art of Ecclesiastical Embroidery and the Ecclesiastical Vestments created from embroidery have a long history with the church. Workers, artisans, craftsmen, both men and women, professional embroidered, and laity, over countless millennia, have added beauty to the church with the work of their hands by creating vestments and hangings for use in the worship service.

Ecclesiastical Embroidery is a liturgical art form with a long and varied history. During the height of the period known as “Opus Anglicanum”  or “English Work”  which dates from the late 12th century to the 14th century, the art form of Ecclesiastical Embroidery surpassed that of painting. Those works which were made in England were renowned for their beauty and were highly prized and sought after. The Victoria and Albert Museum has a nice little introduction to the subject of Opus Anglicanum here:

Introduction to English Embroidery at Victoria and Albert Museum

One of the interesting techniques used during the period of Opus Angicanum was the stitch called underside couching to create the background of a piece, while split stitch was used to create the rich folds in garments and the facial features. You can read about these techniques here:

Historical Needlework Resources – Underside Couching

Over the years, the art of Ecclesiastical Embroidery has undergone many changes. There is the fear that it is becoming a lost art form today.

A wonderful video is available from this site which gives praise to those who provide or create works of art in their many and varied forms to add beauty to our lives and to enhance our worship.

Saint John Paul II’s Letter To Artists

A heartfelt thanks goes out to those who strive to keep the Liturgical Art Form of Ecclesiastical Embroidery alive, and who continue to learn the history of the art form and use their skill with the needle to provide beauty to the church.

Solo Dei Gloria

Be sure to visit our online store front Ecclesiastical Sewing where you may shop for Liturgical Fabrics, altar linen fabrics, church vestment-making patterns, liturgical machine embroidery designschurch vestment trims, notions and so much more. You may also find us on  Ecclesiastical Sewing on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of the page on our online store front and receive a free copy of our Small Linens Booklet as our way of saying thank you for following along.

Opus Anglicanum: Victoria and Albert Style

Email sign up form and small church linen booklet

Liturgical Arts Resources

Update on Changes

Metropolitan Museum of Art Digital Initiative