Jacobean Crewel Work

This new frame is an embroidery technique called Crewel work.  Crewel work is one of the earliest forms of surface stitching and is worked with crewel wool onto linen. The Jacobean design taught here goes as far back as the 17th century and was influenced by the exotic flora and faunas found on Indian imported chintzes. Another popular design with Jacobean crewel work is quirky insects and animals which were added to the ‘Tree of Life’ foliage design.

Compared to canvas work and blackwork, crewel work is not based on a counting technique and is, therefore, more freestyle. What I loved the most with this very traditional technique, is experimenting with the different threads and fabrics to give it a more modern approach. I knew from the start, that I didn’t want to follow the traditional design of Jacobean crewel work and I think exploring each stitch in a modern approach, opened up a lot more design possibilities. My final design was the shell, which was a design taken from one of my art sketchbooks. I chose the shell as it went against the typical floral designs however still gave me a lot of areas in which I could show a variety of stitches.


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