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Online: Opus Anglicanum with Laid & Couched Work


Royal School of Needlework Online Class

Held over 9 weeks:

Thursdays on 14, 21, 28 Sept, 5, 12, 19, 26 Oct, 2, 16 Nov 2023 7-9pm UK time

N.B. No session on 9 Nov.

£459 includes kit

Opus Anglicanum literally means English Work. This was the name for a period of English embroidery that was renowned throughout Europe and beyond. It only came to an end when the Black Death swept across the world, wiping out most of the English embroiderers skilled in this technique and leaving the way open for the quicker, and therefore cheaper, techniques of Tapestry Shading and surface couching of

metal threads from abroad to take precedence. 


Opus Anglicanum made use of Split Stitch in lustrous silk floss along with underside couching worked in metal passing threads. ‘Edgar’ will start you off in this beautiful technique. Laid work, sometimes known as Bayeux stitch, will be used to create a decorative background, also in silk floss. Following on from stitching Edgar, we will cover a number of different couching and laid work techniques, such as Bayeux stitch, surface couching, underside couching and counterpoint underside couching, using a beautiful range of silk flosses and metal passing threads. These stitches were traditionally worked as an opulent background to the Opus figures.

The inspiration for the face of Edgar came from from the drawing of an angel bearing the coat of arms of the Bishop of Exeter, now in the British Library’s collection. It was drawn using

inks and pigments on parchment in circa 1350.


Suitable for all levels.

The class kit will include everything you require to complete the project. You will need a 8" hoop and fine embroidery scissors and may find a magnifier and lamp useful.

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