Goldwork Embroidery Designs and Projects by Mary Brown hit the market this year (2007), and if you’re into surface embroidery and goldwork, it’s an essential edition to your library! Even if you’ve never dabbled in goldwork yourself, this book is great for information, wonderful photos, good techniques, and lots of inspiration. Better yet, even if you don’t intend to dabble in goldwork, but you’re a textile enthusiast or a history buff, you’ll find a lot of information in this book for you.
Goldwork Embroidery Designs and Projects is, from the outside, already a stunning book. It’s heavy (it’s 208 pages on glossy, high quality paper), and it’s got a gorgeous cover in dark burgundy displaying a stunning piece of goldwork. Once you open the book…. you’re stuck! At least I was.
Mary Brown begins the book with acknowledgements to the Royal School of Needlework where she received her training. (I always love to see people acknowledge their teachers!) Section I of the book covers a rather thorough and fascinating history of goldwork embroidery punctuated with photos from the various eras (a real treat!), then proceeds to talking about metal threads, materials, and the techniques of metal thread embroidery. Here, you get great up-close, clear photos of the techniques, which are really essential if you don’t have a face-to-face instructor. The instructions are clear, the photos are great. It’s a perfect learning tool for the beginner and beyond.
But then, here’s the great thing. Section I of the book covers about 90 pages. They’re great pages. I didn’t find one that I could skip with the “same-old-stuff” attitude. Sure, you see most of the same techniques in other goldwork books, but her photos and her precise instructions are good, so it’s useful to read them and study them. BUT – (this is what I was getting at) – what comes next is 100 pages devoted to projects. There are 15 projects detailed in the book, all with design, supply list, step-by-step instructions, illustrations, photos of the steps along the way, and photos of the finished project. Talk about thorough. And the projects are absolutely gorgeous. All levels are well-represented.
This is a gem of a book! Thanks, Mary Brown, for the hard work that certainly went into it. It’s a masterpiece!
You can visit Mary Brown’s website Mary Brown Designs to see her work. You can also order goldwork supplies through her, but if you live in the US, beware that shipping is pricey, as she’s in Australia!
You can find the book through Amazon, where it’s $16.47. If you’re ordering $25 worth of goods from Amazon, you’ll get free shipping. At Barnes and Noble online, it’s $19.96, unless you’re a member, then it’s $17.96.