In addition to our own classes and exhibiting work at Anderson and Sheppard, we also were demonstrating goldwork at Smythson’s LCW event. They had a series of craftspeople set up in store to show some of the process that their items go through.
At the front of the store, Meg was positioned, drafting and embroidering the Smythson’s ‘S’ into a bespoke badge. This piece will have been drafted, raised, appliqued and embroidered with cutwork bullion.
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On another counter, one of their book binders was stationed, explianing the properties of the binding process that thie products go through, the importance of using 2 types of glue for each piece and why they have maintained their hand processes over using machines. Finally they had another lady applying the tissue linings into their envelopes which also all done by hand.
They also had a lady doing freehand calligraphy, where you could write down your name for her and she would draw it out on a card for you to take home.
For quite some time now, we have been playing around with the idea of developing a machine embroidery that would communicate some similar ideas to traditional military style goldwork but in a crisper, more modern way. In true Hawthorne & Heaney style, we didnt just want to go in for a little sample that we could get to work on a small scale, but a big piece that would really hit you in the face, so we settled on a version of the Privy Councillors Coatie.
We wanted the piece to not only have a rich gold look of the original piece , but also the different heights to the stitching and surface details that come with applying bullion individually.
The colours are worked in layers, adding layers of padding between colours to create light relief.
Following these processes, the machine then goes back into to add additional details :
Once all of that is done, we give it a little tidy up and it is complete. To give you a sense of scale this piece is 45 cm high which would be the left hand side of a mens jacket. It is really exciting for us to see a large scale outcome for this technique which has defiantely sparked some subsequent ideas, so stay tuned to see what we do next…
For those that don’t know Hawthorne & Heaney have moved into a fabulous new studio located in 14 Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia. A short walk from Tottenham Court Road station the new studio is spacious, airy and bright with 3 studio spaces.
The studio now has multifunctioning rooms and our sister company London Embroidery School is using one of those rooms to host embroidery classes to learn techniques such as Goldwork and Tambour. Check out the website here to see what they have to offer:
With such ample space we are able to be uber creative and this week our embroiderer Natasha has been working on creating goldwork inspired embroidery with a variation of metallic threads.
Throughout history Fitzrovia has been home to many inspiration creatives such as the English writer Virginia Woolf and Nobel Prize Winner George Bernard Shaw, whose famous playwright ‘Pygmalion’ was later adapted into an American musical called ‘My Fair Lady’ 1964.
Fitzrovia is also famous for the local ‘Fitzroy Tavern’ located in Charlotte Street. In the 1920’s it became the hub for artists, tradesmen and intellectuals.
The latest big project in Fitzrovia has been the Great Portland Estates redevelopment of the former Royal Mail site between Rathbone Place and Newman Street. The site comprises 2.3 acres of land which will be created into a new public square with high quality offices, retail spaces and 162 residential apartments. Facebooks new UK headquarters will be located here.
It seems that we are in the perfect location for our craft!
For anyone interested by embroidery, Opus Anglicanum at the V&A museum is a must see exhibition. Despite its somewhat inaccessible name, the exhibition is a rare treat to see historical pieces, some of which are almost 1000 years old or on loan from usually closed archives.
The Toledo Cope, 1320-30, England.
The exhibition itself has a very considered, calm feel which seems to suit to nature of the materials on show. It is amazing that these pieces have survived this long, understandably some of the silks have lost the vibrancy of their colour and the metal work has tarnished, but the skill and detail are very evident. In most of the designs, the red colours have survived the best, but in the Toledo Cope the blues are especially pleasing.
The Toledo Cope, 1320-30, England.
The descriptions of the pieces are very detailed, each siteing the types of stitch and techniques used as well as the materials in each piece. There is no doubt of the detail of these pieces is astonishing, even if our modern interpretation of the subject matters can be a little amusing like these very long lions.
Lions on Horse Trapper 1330-40
There are some handy videos that will fill in the gaps in anyone’s knowledge who is not familar with the techniques on display.
Along side the embroidery, there are a few related treat pieces such as this beautiful swan pin which shares influences with the embroidery subjects.
The Dunstable Swan Jewel, c1400
Opus Anglicanum is open to the public at the Victoria and Albert museum now until the 5th Feb 2017.
Here at Hawthorne & Heaney, we get a wide variety of projects to work on. One of the great things about working in such a creative industry is to see where people get their inspiration from and in turn having your own knowledge expanded. One such project is a collar piece which we worked on for a suit by a city tailor, where the inspiration was drawn from a little know archeological site called Mohenjo-daro or ‘Mound of the dead men’.
The symbols were taken from pieces that were discovered at the site which is in Pakistan from what is thought to be a stamp or seal. Located in the Indus Valley, the original name of the city is unknown but they are know to supposedly had the world’s first known toilets, along other developments in civilisation such as complex stone weights, elaborately drilled gemstone necklaces and exquisitely carved seal stones featuring one of the world’s stubbornly undeciphered scripts. It is this Indus script upon which we based the design which was then excicuted in antique styled goldwork techniques.
The height of the raisings of the embroidery and the blue highlights really bring this piece to life, from the unicorn to the mask.
At this time of year we are lucky enough to get a sneak peak at some of the freshest fashion talent around as Students from all over contact us with their ideas for their final collections. This insight into the future of fashion is always so exciting to see and often pushes us beyond our usual style or way of approaching a project. This year we have been working with designers such as Mary Ashcroft, Naomi Bartling and Palmina Cerullo.
Mary Ashcroft has a bold aesthetic, using machine embroidery also to add large strokes of texture to her piece emulating a paint brush. With this piece she brings together multiple textures of fabric as the embroidery act as the seam between Mac plastic, Velvet and Felt. This exposes the way the fabrics react differently to the introduction of the embroidery with the punched out nature of the plastic and the way the pile of the velvet peeks through the heavy stitching on the velvet areas.
Naomi Bartling took a very different approach to the other graduates, using embroidery to bring together many different elements to built a multitude of colour texture and interest. This eclectic approach to her embroidery created some really eye catching pieces as we took apart existing hair pieces and corsages, and reassembled them. We also produced this moss covered piece for her, embellished with a range of 3D beaded motifs.
Palmina Cerullo from the University for the Creative Arts went for a more traditional embroidery route, with her hand embroidered blue bullion work chair designs. The punchy colours of the bullion stands out wonderfully against the suiting fabrics.
If you would like to get in contact with us about a project you are working on, please drop us an email, we would love to hear your ideas…
There are some jobs that the whole point of the embrodiery is to make it look ancient or to replace a damaged piece on an exisiting old garment, in these cases having a shiny new piece of goldwork in there would really stand out and not look right. Luckily there are ways of aging goldwork quickly to cheat the time and achieve the look necessary. Here we have our newly finished silver coloured goldwork cuffs.
The whole process centers around a very common kitchen ingredient, eggs.
Once hard boiled and shelled the eggs are sealed in with the embroidery and allowed to sit for a short time.
Here you can see the warmth from the eggs creating steam which carries the sulphur released from them to the goldwork.
This eats away at the finish, giving it an aged, tarnished look, depending on how much you want to exaggerate this will depend on how long you leave it in there for and if you need to smash the eggs to release more.
The above piece is the cuff before the antiquing process and below is after, you can see the difference between the two, now just to do the other one to match!
For his SS16 collection, we worked with Joshua Kane to create these lightening inspired detail to compliement the tailoring. We came across this great picture of Jack Guiness in one of the jackets with Ben Stiller, giving their best ‘blue steel’ looks and just had to share it with you!
Here you can see some of the detail of the goldwork that goes unto the collar. The embroidery stands up from the fabric as it has been raised and each piece of bullion is cut to measure and hand applied to create this lux effect.
And here the rest fo the jacket, I think you will agree, it is pretty special.
This weekend, Hawthorne & Heaney’s sister company, The London Embroidery School hosted a special Christmas Goldwork Stars Workshop. The students were eager to learn more about goldwork techniques so the opportunity to combine new skills and festivities was too much to miss!
Here are a few photos from their progress through the day:
They start by preparing the fabric, transfering the design and padding some areas with felt.
Some of the students edge their stars with pearle purl, covering the padded areas with cutwork in a combination of rough and smooth purl and filling the flat area with bright check chips.
Others used a combination of purl and check for the padded area and crystals for the flat.
The lovely Pearl teaching (and posing)
Some of the tools used during the day including wax, tweezers, scissors, size 12 needles, purl, check, pricker and bright check chips on the bullion board
Deep concentration is necessary for work like this
A table full of stars (and slight creative chaos)
Some of the students feeling a little bit pleased with their progress
At Hawthorne & Heaney we are always delighted to see people taking an interest and learning about these specialist embroidery techniques. We feel that it is important to preserve the knowledge of how to create these effect so that the crafts do not get lost in generations to come so if you would like to learn more about some of these specialist embroidery skills, why not join the London Embroidery School ladies for a course and see what you can learn!