Thursday, 24 October 2013

20 years of silk shading at the Royal School.

Last month I celebrated 20 years of working at The Royal School. I still love embroidery now as much as I did when I started as an apprentice . Of all the techniques that I have learnt my favourite one is long and short silk shading. It is also the one that I was most apprehensive about and as a teacher it is also the one that I find students are most keen to master. All I can say is practise, practise, practise!!

This was my first attempt at silk shading, a wild dog rose. I can see many mistakes in it, the edges of the rose are very uneven and the turnovers on the petals are unshaded and very heavy. I also padded them which I think is unnecessary . A three dimensional effect should be achieved just by the shading. I used just anchor stranded cottons for this worked on a flat silk background.
I was pleased with the leaves though, I tried to include blemishes in the leaves and picked some actual leaves to copy as I worked. 

This silk shading I really enjoyed a green woodpecker, although again I would do it very differently now. I stitched this in the second year of my apprenticeship so felt more confident at long and short. I used anchor and DMC stranded cottons and worked on a very fine linen background. 

Rosie the cat. A companion piece to Lonnie which I talked about in another post.I enjoyed Rosie more , I think as I learnt so much from the first piece she seemed much easier to work. Her eyes were harder though, they were huge and she really liked to stare. I think I managed to capture her character and her stripes!! 

A close up of the long and short showing the many colours used. 
Another close up of her fur. 

My latest long and short stitch piece a crewel work embroidery. The long and short was worked in medici wools on a calico backing . I then edged the whole embroidery with silver pearl purl number 1.This is a real metal thread which is coiled like a spring , you pull it slightly apart to stitch it down. This one contains a small amount of silver which will tarnish over time. I then cut out the embroidery to wear as a brooch. Embroidery is not just for pictures. 


  1. Congratulations on your 20 years at the RSN. You are a great teacher and I think a real asset to the school. You taught me silk shading and I am so proud of the piece of work I produced under your guidance, I still love the technique and have embroidered a few pieces since I was at the RSN which was a joyful time in my life. Thank you again for the gift you gave me.

  2. Elaina thank you so much for your lovely comments. I am so glad you are still embroidering . Once a stitcher always a stitcher. Until the eyesight goes !!!!