Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Reader’s Embroidery: Goldwork Peacock Feather!


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Here’s a bit of goldwork done by Christiana – a peacock feather… it’s really beautiful and speaks for itself…

The project is a type of goldwork called Or Nue´ in which colored threads are used to couch gold passing thread to form a picture. The gold that isn’t couched in color is couched with regular gold couching thread. Christi worked the design from a grid, rather than on a painted surface, using the lines of the gold to form the “grid” for the picture. I believe the original design was one by Michael Cook, who made it for weaving.

Goldwork Peacock Feather

Here’s the piece in progress. You can see the grid on the left. Working over the gold threads, the grid got a bit “squished” so that the feather ended up a bit shorter and wider – but it doesn’t in any way diminish the beauty of the piece!

Goldwork Peacock Feather

Here it is! Isn’t it amazing? I think it’s really beautiful! The “hairy” threads on the end still need to be plunged…

Goldwork Peacock Feather

This is the design the threads made on the back of the fabric. Neat, eh?

Goldwork Peacock Feather

Here you can see a distance shot of the feather, set up on a slate frame with another project (a fleur de lys worked in Japanese silver #1, on a blue background – more on it later!).

I really love this piece, and it, and Margaret’s Or Nue´ flower, have done gone and inspired me! I set up an Or Nue´ project this weekend between bouts of company (it’s the only embroidery-related thing I accomplished!) I’ll chronicle my progress on it, and hopefully be able to share some tips and tricks as I go along. You can learn from my mistakes, for I’m sure to make some!!!!

Thanks, Christiana, for sending along the photos! Congratulations on finishing a really beautiful project!


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(9) Comments

  1. This is so lovely. The plunging will be fun. 🙂 I bet this piece is really something in person where you can see the shine on the gold. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. I love the peacock feather…we use to raise peacocks at one time and I collected many many feathers. Nature is wonderful isn’t it? The piece is just beautiful!!!!
    Thank you,
    Annie in “Where is Spring?” Michigan.

  3. Is or nue the ssme as goldwork? If not, how is it different. I read about both but would like your interpretation. Thank you. Liz

    1. Or Nué is a type of goldwork. Goldwork is the general term for embroidery done with real metal (gold and other) threads, but there are many techniques that fall under the general umbrella. Or Nué is one of them. In that particular technique, embroidery is worked over a laid gold thread, and shading is achieved by working the embroidery threads closer together or farther apart, depending on how much of the gold you want to show. Hope that helps!

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