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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Church Embroidery: Watch This Progress!


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When Ruth O’Leary contacted me about her taking an embroidery commission on a banner for Durham Cathedral, I was really intrigued about her banner-making plans. Since then, she has undertaken the commission and begun the work. And best yet, she’s blogging the whole process!

If you haven’t had an opportunity to stop by Ruth O’Leary Textile Arts, now would be a good time to do so, while she’s still in the relative beginning stages of the St. Cuthbert’s Banner.

Ruth O'Leary Textile Art Embroidery and Inspiration

Of course, if you like goldwork, you should stop by just to take a look at her header on her blog. I love it.

Ruth has been commissioned to re-create the St. Cuthbert’s Banner, a banner of which there is no surviving image, but which was described in detail some five hundred years ago in writing. From the written description, she is creating her version of the banner.

So far, on the St. Cuthbert’s banner, you can see Ruth’s fabric choices, the conceptual design, a mock-up, the appliqué process, and the first leg of the cross, which is worked in red velvet, with red satin pieces appliqued on to create the design. You can also see a very nice goldwork circle already finished. She also shows how she neatened the edge of the applique cross with couched gold Jap – all the steps being interesting and suspense-building components of the whole creative process behind this banner. I can’t wait to see it finished!

This year, I agreed to make a banner for a church-related event that takes place at the end of October. Oh golly, October is coming up fast! While Ruth’s banner is much more complex, much more artistic, and much more historically relevant to the church for which it is commissioned, mine is – at least in concept so far – relatively simple, and mostly appliquéd. The color scheme, though, is the same – red, white, and gold, which are typical (and glorious) liturgical colors. Though time seems to be somewhat scarce, I have to admit that watching Ruth’s process inspires me to want to push through my banner project and make some headway on it!

You reckon I can manage it? Realistically speaking, I’m somewhat doubtful. And if I don’t, that’s ok, I suppose. I can still enjoy the whole banner-making process (and actually, I can enjoy it a whole lot more!) by watching Ruth’s St. Cuthbert Banner unfold.

I hope you get a chance to check out her website and watch this historical re-creation come to life!



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(8) Comments

  1. What a WONDERFUL way to do something for God and for our church/community, while spending the time in personal enjoyment ! ! Three cheers for you ! ! …Judy in Pittsburgh

  2. as always, ecerytime i see a new project being completed i wanna try it my self. i was folllowing the progress of the church banner and i realized ive never ctually seen aplique done….could you do a tutorial on it after you do the shading lessons..please pretty please. lol

    your always the greatest mary

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