Stumpwork is a dimensional embroidery technique that originated in the mid-1600’s in England. This type of embroidery uses attached, pre-stitched pieces of embroidery, raised stitches, and even stuffed areas to create impressive and realistic floral designs as well as stylized scenic pictures that sometimes include animals, flora, people garbed in elaborate clothing, and even buildings (castles, tents, etc.)
The stitches used in stumpwork range from simple line stitches to more complex filling stitches and lace stitches. Practically any ground fabric is suitable for stumpwork. Threads commonly used include wool, cotton, and silk.
This style of embroidery is enjoying a great resurgence of popularity these days. There are several masters of the art out there, but perhaps the most prolific when it comes to writing instructional books is Jane Nicholas. Her books are a delight to the eye and are excellent for instruction and inspiration.