Monday, 16 November 2009

Opus Anglicanum, its been a mighty opus but hopefully its all stitched up!

Never one to miss an opportunity to make a book, and, after much deliberation on how to present my study on Opus Anglicanum i came up with this!
A concertina of various elements found on Opus textiles. When viewed close up it reminds me of theatre scenery!
I found the study very absorbing and also somewhat frustrating as a) the V&A's new Medieval galleries are not open yet, and it is always useful to see primary sources and b) a lot of publications have very inadequate photos. Web pages too left a lot to be desired. I remembered that in my past i had intimately known at least 2 pieces of Opus Anglicanum so there was much rummaging in the attic to find photos.
Its not easy to get everything in unless you are writing a thesis, so i hope this gives a detailed enough outline.
I decided to draw most of my images as this gives an understanding of the design elements and is somewhat reminiscent of the cartoon like designs of the period.
I firstly concentrated on the design features that enclosed images such as roundels and cruciform shapes.
I included designs inside the enclosures although they didn't necessarily go together originally so i hope this isn't misleading.

I have placed the shapes fairly chronologically, as are the architectural shapes at the end.

It was interesting to see how designs were worked from extant drawings and how often the designs would appear in more than one textile, also how design features were presented on the costume of the period.

I particularly liked areas of pattern worked with the same threads but using the stitches in different directions.
I did my samples of underside couching on a double layer of linen and found it quite tricky to get the tension correct. I also found that if the needle didn't go in the same hole in both directions then the loop was virtually impossible to pull through. How on earth they did it on velvet i have no idea and probably at speed! I have included a bibliography on the reverse side of the last 'page'. I will post photographs of the underside couching in Chapter 3. Finally back to untarnished glitter, one more sample of hand couching for Chapter 2.
I cut up lengths of 'Cello foil', crinkled them with heat and applied them to a photo of spray paint details.


  1. What a beautiful study, this is so impressive. I especially like the way you have shaped the tops of some of the pages and your drawings are lovely.

  2. What a beautiful study - well done. I love the way you have shaped the tops of some of the pages and your drawings are lovely.

  3. What a lovely original way of presenting your research.