02 March 2018

Gold Leaf

Back in 2007, I had the opportunity to take three goldwork classes over six days with the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) in Iowa. (The RSN used to teach in Iowa every year.) In one of the classes, I learned several metal thread techniques by working a goldwork rose. In the final class, we embroidered a more modern take on goldwork which included this gold leather leaf sprinkled with beads.

The gold leaf was interesting in that the veins were mostly created by manipulating the leather with my fingers. The piece of leather was larger at the top than the finished leaf size, so I had extra material to use to shape the raised veins which are held in place by beads.

I am not a big fan of leather in goldwork because I don't enjoy stitching it. It's difficult and sometimes painful getting a needle through leather! I remember vividly having my finger stabbed--repeatedly--by the eye end of the needle while trying to push the needle through the leaf edges. I bent at least one needle as well. I wouldn't be unhappy if this was my last piece of leather.

There were two other leaves which included thread-wrapped pearl purl outlines and s-ing over spangles (the 'veins').

In the centre is a lovely thread painted pansy in cotton floss with looped purl in the middle. The front petal was padded with felt. I don't remember if any of the other petals were padded. There was a lot of purple goodness in this project including the silk ground fabric which is an iridescent dupioni with purple and red threads.

To finish things off, there is a freely hanging frill of long gold threads. I like that touch!

The project is framed and I enjoy seeing it every day.



  1. Another lovely piece. Who was the designer of it? I feel your pain with the eye of the needle. I’m still feeit after my silk shading piece! All in the name of our art.

    1. I don't know who the designer was, unfortunately. The class was taught by Heather Harrison, but I seem to remember Heather referring to the designer of the project in the third person so I don't think that Heather was the designer.

      I wish I was able to credit the designer as they created a terrific project.

  2. Thank you for sharing this lovely piece Margaret! I once hurt my finger so much by puncturing it that it swell up. My mum was really cross with me and told me stories of amputation :). It did help and I try to use a thimble more often for heavy duty work!

    1. Amputation, eh? Wow! :-)

      I did try a thimble with the leather, but that's how I ended up bending the needle. Oops! Actually, a bit of wax--just a bit--on the needle seemed to help as did switching from a crewel 10 to crewel 12 needle.

      I still don't like stitching leather and I doubt anything will change my mind.

  3. that's beautiful! I stab myself with the eye of the needle every time I stitch anything!