I know. It’s Monday morning. And that says it all, doesn’t it?
To help you get through the start of the week, here’s an awesome piece of inspiration – a beautiful pearl, gemstone, and goldwork embroidered icon frame, featuring an interesting and effective approach to high relief embroidery.
Several years ago, Larissa Borodich shared this pearl embroidered frame with us, surrounding an intricate cross stitch featuring an angel. Since then, she’s been exploring bead embroidery, including high relief embroidery.
Here’s Larissa’s latest masterpiece!
Here’s the icon frame completely embroidered with pearls and goldwork threads, and accented with cabochons.
The two flowers in the lower corners are padded and raised, and then embroidered over with pearls. We’ll look at those closer below, along with the padding technique Larissa used.
First, though, some close-ups of the rest of the piece!
This is the top right corner. Don’t forget to click on the photo for a larger image!
This is the top center of the frame, the tip of the crown-like halo around the Virgin’s head.
I love the combination of the gold and the pearls, and the choice of gemstones for the accents! It’s very striking.
And here we have the two halos cut around the icon itself.
It’s a beautiful icon, too! The detail in the painting is exquisite and quite delicate. The faces retain the structural elements of an icon, but are considerably softer.
Here’s the padded tulip-like flower in the lower right corner of the frame. The tulip sits about 1/3″ – 1/2″ higher than the surrounding main section of the frame.
The tulips were embroidered separately over a foundation filled from the back with polyfil, cut out, finished, and then applied to the frame.
Here is a photo of the tulip in progress.
With the embroidery finished, the tulip is cut out and the edges turned under.
You can see in the photo above how full and raised the whole tulip actually is.
This high relief embroidery is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time.
When I deconstructed this piece of goldwork – and especially the Lamb in the center – my whole purpose was to examine how the embroiderer achieved the high relief. The method was slightly different (layers of felt padding were built up, then covered with linen), but the outcome is essentially the same.
Larissa’s approach – stuffing the foundation from the back – can be seen in books on goldwork, so it is not too unusual, but it’s nice to see it worked so precisely with pearl embroidery.
Highly sculptured embroidery – especially pieces of sculptured goldwork embroidery – have been around for centuries upon centuries, with many different approaches used to build up foundations. The Spanish and the Belgians were masters of this art form, which they applied to ecclesiastical embroidery on vestments.
This particular technique – stuffing the shape from the back – is also very much like trapunto, which has been around for centuries. I think it’s very effective to use it this way!
Thanks, Larissa, for sharing the photos of your latest piece.
So, there’s your Monday morning inspiration! Have you ever worked any high relief embroidery? If so, what method did you use to achieve the padded height you were after? Do you have any questions about the techniques used here? Feel free to chime in below!