Study and practice play a large part in learning, and hopefully, mastering any skill. When I first started to learn about Ecclesiastical Embroidery, the discovery of free resources available on the Internet was a blessing. One of the earliest resources I came across was a book by Ella Rodman Church entitled Artistic Embroidery; Containing Practical Instructions in the Ornamental Branches of Needlework.
Written in 1886, the book is from a different era, and is fun to browse through and read. Sometimes old books like this can be a wonderful source for ideas and inspiration. Take for example the author’s introduction to the subject of color by means of poetry:
Before proceeding to silk embroidery, it may be well to consider
some simple rules of color, as the proper arrangement of color is of
far greater importance than the regular placing of stitches, and no
embroidery can be artistic without it.
An old-fashioned poet gives some good advice on this subject:
” Choose such judicious force of shade and light,
As suits the theme and satisfies the sight;
Weigh part with part, and with prophetic eye
The future power of all thy tints descry.”
Truth in rhyme was never better brought out than in the following lines:
‘‘ Know first that light displays and shade destroys
Refulgent Nature’s variegated dyes ; Thus bodies near the light distinctly shine
With rays direct, and as it fades decline.”
The author goes on to give some sage advice about which colors pair well and which pairings it is best to avoid. She also discusses the topic of placement of color on various grounds and the effect that has on color, as well as when and where brighter colors look best.
Always on the lookout for new Ecclesiastical Embroidery Designs and hand embroidery project ideas, here is one from Artistic Embroidery that has been mulling around for a while.
The author provides a few ideas for book or Bible covers. Our church would someday like to have a processional Gospel cover. It would be one of the expensive metal covers from an Ecclesiastical supply company. The thought has crossed my mind a few times of embroidering a cover that would be ornate with metal threads, and encrusted with pearls and crystals. At this point it is a thought. It would be fun. It may not be practical, but it would be fun. Guess it is time to hunt more ideas down and start collecting possible images.
Once an idea starts mulling around, additional possibilities are always cropping up to get the creative juices flowing.
“Books were regarded as a precious treasures, and the purchase of a single volume involved as much outlay as a rare painting…..” as the author explains a bit of the history associated with the creation of such beautiful vessels which contained priceless treasures. These beautiful covers were often made of velvet with gold and silver plate, and precious stones. Ornate book covers reached a height in the days of Queen Elizabeth.
This is just a small taste of the treasures written by the author on the topic of embroidery. There is much more to enjoy in the book Artistic Embroidery by Ella Rodman Church.
The book is available online through Internet Archives Reprints can also be ordered through sources like Amazon.
Solo Dei Gloria
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