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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Gold Threads and Pearl Embroidery


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Yesterday, I showed you some stunning beadwork embroidery worked by Larissa Borodich, and today, I’ll show you another gorgeous piece she did, worked with gold threads and natural freshwater pearls. I’ll also tell you a little bit about Larissa’s technique.

And then…. and then…. later on, I’ll tell you something else. Something incredible about the pieces that I’m showing you… but I want to see if you can guess the last detail!

Gold Threads and Pearl Embroidery

This is Larissa’s second frame, also designed by Irina Rudneva. Irina is self-taught at her art. Larissa explained, “Once she could lay her hands on an antique piece – pearl framework. She was so impressed by it that she decided to try and do something like that herself, and she started her research: museums, books on art, even Sothebys catalogs! And she did it!” Irena won two awards from the Bead & Button Bead Dreams Competition this past year (for this beaded collar), so we know she taught herself well!

Gold Threads and Pearl Embroidery

Larissa told me a little bit about her ventures into this kind of needlework: “I was doing cross-stitch for several years (kits and patterns), and although I still enjoy cross-stitch and tent stitch a lot, I cannot say that there is a lot of creativity in following a ready-made pattern. So I was just admiring other types of embroidery from afar. But since I found your site and then following your links to different sites, I thought that maybe I can try more than just cross stitch. And since then, things started to happen. As if different puzzle pieces were coming together, fitting into a new picture for me. I found Irina Rudneva, I started learning traditional pearl embroidery. I bought goldwork supplies and kits and books (after I read your reviews and visited the sites you recommended) and now I am trying to create something new myself. My next frame will be in goldwork.

Don’t you love hearing when one interest in needlework leads to another? Larissa’s analogy of the puzzle is perfect! For most needleworkers, I imagine that this is how they find their niche, by all the pieces falling into place: by being inspired by something seen, and by falling in love with something they have the courage to try.

Gold Threads and Pearl Embroidery

Larissa worked the pearl framework on two layers of linen fabric, topped with one layer of gold-colored polyester satin. She used freshwater pearls of various sizes, the smallest corresponding to beads smaller than size 15. She padded the leaves of the flowers with three layers of satin stitch, using three strands of DMC floss, and then applied the beads by first stringing one thread with them, then couching on each side of every pearl. She also used gold cord, gold purl, pearl purl, and rhinestones as accents.

Gold Threads and Pearl Embroidery

I’m fairly certain that the embroidery is designed and stitched, and then the mat is cut, but I’ll have to let Larissa answer that question (which Gail posed in yesterday’s comments).

Beautiful, beautiful work, isn’t it? If you’re like me, your mind is spinning with possibilities!

Now, there’s one more aspect to both of Larissa’s pieces that I think worth pointing out… but you know, I’m going to leave that for a bit. Can you guess what it is? When looking at her work, did anything in particular strike you, as a point of curiosity? It struck me – so I asked her, and I was right. Any guesses?

Thank you, Larissa, for sharing your gorgeous work! And I can’t wait to see what you come up with, for a goldwork frame!


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(27) Comments

  1. Boy, what a teaser. I can’t wait to hear what the common ‘thread’ [pun intended] is.

    These are absolutely beautiful.

  2. Thank you, Mary!
    You are too kind to me! I really enjoy such attention to my work!
    I saw the question about matting. Yes, you are right, first I stitched the design in pearls. And then took it to the framer. I know a very good framer who does really great job framing whatever you bring to him. He cut a piece of strong thick cardboard, cut out the oval in the middle, then he cut out the middle part in the fabric and then he put my stitched framework onto this cardboard and fixed it. Hope this makes sense.
    Here is a nice link to one of the icons in the framework by Irina Rudneva.
    The pictures are very good, with close-ups!
    The stones used are cabochons of amethyst, garnet, citrine. And they are set in 14K gold. Where did she get the gold settings? Well, she opened her personal jewelry box, took out her gold chain, bracelet, ring and gave them to a jeweler to make settings for the icon. Irina’s husband was fast enough to save her wedding ring when she was going to use it too. :)))
    Isn’t it a great example of dedication to her art? I really loved that part of the story about this icon. It is done according to the old traditions. There are certain rules that you have to follow when making a frame for an icon, so she used pictures of old museum pieces as an example.
    I am very happy to be able to learn these new techniques and materials, I am happy to follow up such wonderful sites as this one.
    And I am certainly going to continue learning. Pearl and gold embroidery are my favorites and they go together so nicely. After all there are ages of history behind these techniques (both in Russia and Europe). In Russia pearl embroidery started in 11th century!

  3. Reminds me of a huge goldwork elephant embroidery which hangs at my local Thai restaurant. Whenever we go there, I seem to spend more time staring at the intricacies rather than eating my yummy dinner!!! Note to self – I really need to take some photos next time…

  4. Thank-you Larissa and Mary for sharing such beautiful work. I love and have tried beaded embroidery and it is very addictive, but never to the extent that Larissa has. I do hope that she too, receives blessings from sharing her works with others and blessings to you for bringing us such a variety of talented artists and sharing your love of the needlework.

    I will now be tempted to go and work, once again, on my bead work embroidery, but it is far from being as talented as Larissa.

    Please share some good books that you would recommend us to purchase that would help to take this one bead further.
    In stitches,
    Linda in NS

  5. Be still my beating heart. Yes, my mind is spinning with possibilities, too.

    I wonder how many fresh water peals there are on this one piece. Do you know what size it is?

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  6. The embroidered matting is 22 inches by 19.
    The large flower in the corner is 2 by 2 inches (without the leaves)
    the large leaves are 1,5 inches long. A lot of pearls were used. It was a long journey for me. First lessons from my teacher, then buying the materials. I was saving money to be able to do that (talk about spending on hobbies and setting priorities). Yes, it was expensive (lessons and all) but it is worth it! I got knowledge about this type of embroidery and this knowledge is with me forever. And then, like you said, your mind starts spinning.

  7. Absolutely stunning! What a talent! This has to be one of the most beautiful pieces of beadwork I’ve ever seen. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. What a coincidence as just this week my sister gave me a gift of a beautiful icon and I have lots of pearls left over from the stocking I made last Christmas! Here I go again….another project. Thank you so much Mary and Larissa for the inspiration.
    Susan UK

  8. LacySusan,

    I thought so, too! What a gorgeous piece. Larissa and Irena, you’ve both done exquisite work. Thank you for sharing this, Mary. 🙂

  9. Thank you for introducing us to Larissa. I have enjoyed these past two posts immensely! Your blog is such an inspiration! I know i don’t say it very often but I am very grateful for the hard work you put into every post. Thank you.

  10. I would say “they’re both jaw-dropping gorgeous” but I don’t think that’s what you mean. The only things I can think of is either that these 2 pieces have only beads or metal threads visible, or that they are very restricted color range, including the background fabric. In either case, they aren’t meant to be the focus, but enhance the picture. I’m looking forward to the answer.

  11. I’ve had a close look at some of the margins of embroidery- funny how I don’t usually notice them.

    They are so detailed, so many different stitches, usually in goldwork. I know they are ‘margins’ rather than an actual frame – but I’ll be toe-curling interested to find out about Larissa’s.

  12. Oh dear, here I go again. I think I may have confused Larissa’s and Irina’s work yesterday (I was a little befuddled by it all) so I want to apologise if I caused any offence to either lady.

    Once again I have no words – maybe sublime?
    Just keep it coming. Please.

  13. Impressed!! They look like real pearls too. Most people don’t realise that real (cultured) pearls are actually not that expensive. It is just the jewellery trade that drives prices through the roof. Did you say the artist is Russian? Certainly explains the pearls. Lovely pearls come out of Russia.

  14. This is beautiful work it has given me some ideas for the memory crazy quilt I am doing . I know I could never do something like this.It is just so fantastic. I wanted to frame some pictures on my memory quilt and all I could think of was to use applique frames. Some of these ideas I could work into my frames.Thank you for sharing the beautiful inspirational work.

  15. Absolutely Beautiful, I wish I had the patience to do something like that, to intriquit for me. Love it though

  16. One of the most beautiful articles on use of needle work and art integrated on to frame and collar. Just imagine again, to walk into a European museum and find icons that catch the light and delight the eye.
    I am making a friend of my husband’s a 10 in doll based on PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. The embroidery with pink beads and very fine gold floss takes time.
    Thanks for the gorgeous pictures and article. atk

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