Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Stunning Stumpwork!

Good day blogging friends!  Oh my, has it really been that long since my last post?  I am certainly not keeping up with my goal to blog more often this year.

Winter has really set in here in Cape Town and with it an array of colds and flu!  DH, my mom and the in-laws have all been ill and I have had flu twice!  I hope I have now built up enough resistance for the rest of the year!

It has been slow going on the stitching front; I have been working on a few gifts and a few small items, but have nothing to share at the moment.  Since I don’t have any new work to show, I decided to share some of the Stumpwork pieces my mom did years ago.

For those of you not familiar with Stumpwork, here is a very brief explanation:

Stumpwork is a style of embroidery where the objects (usually flowers, fruit and animals, but sometimes even people!) are raised from the surface of the foundation fabric in order to create a three dimensional effect.  Stumpwork originated between 1640 - 1700 and appears as if it was originally utilized in Biblical embroideries in Europe, it was later done by young girls in England as part of their education.  Stumpwork often makes use of wire to add dimension - usually to leaves, petals and wings.  Padding is also frequently used, as well as felt which is then covered in embroidery stitches.  One of the most interesting things about Stumpwork is the complete disregard for scale – a single berry can be larger than a squirrel!  Thus, Stumpwork is technically raised work, whereby figures and padded objects, as well as other loose objects are stitched onto a main fabric which has been prepared with a 'base' of surface embroidery.

Now, on to some examples -this piece is called ‘Nature’s Circle’.  My mom stitched this piece in 1999, after which she presented classes on the technique on behalf of the designer.  It was a very proud moment when three of her students won 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize in a national embroidery competition (the theme for that year was Stumpwork).  Let me tell you, the first prize winner’s work was so perfect, it looked as if it was done by machine!

Here is a closeup of some cherries with a cute bee in the background - you can see the stems and some of the leaves are stitched onto the background fabric, while some of the leaves and other objects are 'raised', creating the distinctive three dimensional effect.  I also just love the spiderweb :)  (This is a framed piece so I had to take the photos through the glass - not always easy!)

A closeup of some acorns with tiny bees in the background:

The squirrel is definitely one of my favourites!  I just love the fluffy tail :)  Some juicy oranges are pictured in the background and as always, there is a little critter sneaking about!

Here are some examples from an unframed piece my mom designed and used as a teaching aid - please note that the piece is not finished, so all the elements are not added and completed!  The raspberries are so beautiful and mr owl so cute - look at the little spider dangling from the branch (I do like the critters)!

More examples of cherries and a dragonfly with not yet completed wings!

Here are some pics of gorgeous stumpwork fuchsias (by the same designer) which my mom embroidered.  It is stitched in Pearsall's silk and was published in a local craft magazine.  Unfortunately we had to part with the actual piece!  (I had to take the photos from the magazine, so the quality isn't too great.)

Some of the photos of this piece were also featured in a little booklet published by the same magazine:

Can you believe that, despite having a teacher in the house, I have never tried my hand at stumpwork?

If you are interested in this beautiful and rewarding, old embroidery technique, here are some wonderful books on the subject.  These books by Jane Nicholas are probably the definitive modern guide to the subject, providing a detailed history, instructions and patterns:

Here is an example of some of the smaller projects in the books - perfect for beginners and so pretty!  The pomegranate, rose and strawberries in the first picture work so well together and I just love that big bushy thistle in the second picture!

If you love flowers, this book by Helan Pearce has some lovely floral designs:

I also know that some of the older Embroidery and Cross Stitch magazines (their name has since changed) featured stumpwork projects.

Well, that was a really long post for me!  Hopefully I will be back soon with some stitchy updates!

Until next time - Happy Stitching!



AliceKiss said...

Восхитительно! красивые вышивки! Я в восторге!!!!

Erna said...

What a gorgeous piece of work Michelle.You must be proud of your mum.
Erna x

butterfly said...

So beautiful, one of the girls at my club ,works allot of stump workit always looks so real.

cucki said...

I love it beautiful x

Mii Stitch said...

Simply beautiful!

Michelle said...

Oh Michelle its stunning xx

Lee Albrecht said...

Michelle, cocmo fico feliz de ver uma peça dessas bordadas. Mande um abraço carinhoso para a sua mãe... estou devendo um presente a ela. beijos

Carol said...

Wow! The stump work is incredible, Michelle! Your mom is a true artist with her needle and thread... And she must be an outstanding teacher to have her students place 1st, 2nd, and 3rd!! I can see where you get your talent :)

Manka said...

Wow! So beautiful embroideries! Congratulations to your mother.

Annie said...

What a wonderful collection! These are really magnificent treasures. Are you planning to give it a try?

Palkó said...

It is really good! Special and very beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle--

Your mom does lovely work!

Can you share more information about the fuchsias? Who is the designer? What is the name of the magazine and the little booklet? I would search them out to add them to my stash!


Carol S.

Christina said...

Oh m goodness - what talent. Beautiful work.

Lyn Warner said...

So lovely to see your mom's beautiful work!

Grit said...

Wow this work is really gorgeous !!!
Greetings Grit

Unknown said...

Hi! I just would like to know where in South Africa can I buy the book Dimensional Embroidery by Helan Pearce? I love embroidery!!! Heilet

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