DETAIL FROM A STUMPWORK PIECE BY MURIEL BAKER

 

Raised work, commonly called stumpwork today, reached its peak of popularity among the noble ladies of 17th century England. In addition to pieces for the wall, this three-dimensional embroidery was used to adorn mirrors and caskets (household boxes.)

These stumpwork pieces from the EGA Collection were both stitched by Muriel Baker. The piece below, designed with colonial American motifs in honor of the US Bicentennial, was featured on the cover of Baker’s book Stumpwork: The Art of Raised Embroidery (1978, Charles Scribner’s Sons.)

 

STUMPWORK PICTURE BY MURIEL BAKER, EGA COLLECTION #00546 YOU CAN SEE A VARIETY OF FILLING STITCHES USED TO EXECUTE THIS TREE, AS SEEN IN THE UPPER LEFT CORNER OF THE PIECE ABOVE.

 

The design for this scene is also featured in Stumpwork, so you can create your very own.

 

 

EGA COLLECTION #00547

 

If you want to try your hand at stumpwork, check out Wild Cornish Fuchsia, a free project from Moira Knagg available on the EGA website.

The detail above is from EGA Collection Item #00146, a Chinese court robe. It was given to EGA by Edith John and is believed to be from the early 19th century. This style of robe was worn at court during the Ch’ing Dynasty (1644-1912) and is known as a dragon robe, or Ch’i-fu.

The robe is made of silk and is almost entirely stitched with gold couching. The only areas that aren’t are the dragon’s eyes, which are done in silk satin stitches. The design is divided into three areas – the sea is represented at the bottom by the diagonal lines, then a small area of earth just above that, and the rest is sky, where the dragons writhe amongst the clouds and a plethora of good luck symbols. There are a total of nine dragons on the robe and you can learn the wearer’s station by the number of toes the dragons have. This one is a four-toed dragon, which indicates a member of the imperial family below the third rank.

Two more details from the robe are below. For further reading, see Katherine Westphal’s wonderfully informative Dragons and Other Creatures: Chinese Embroidery (1979; Lancaster-Miller Publishers). A photo of this robe was also featured in the 2008 book A-Z of Goldwork with Silk Embroidery from Country Bumpkin Publications.

 

A DETAIL FROM THE WATER SECTION NEAR THE BOTTOM OF THE ROBE
THIS FROG SITS RIGHT ON THE BORDER OF THE WATER AND LAND SECTIONS.

 

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