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Goldwork (RSN Essential Stitch Guides) [Hardcover]

Helen McCook
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 Oct 2012 RSN Essential Stitch Guides
The Royal School of Needlework (RSN) teaches hand embroidery to the highest standard and is well respected all over the world. It not only upholds the traditions of English embroidery that go back many hundreds of years, but is constantly taking embroidery forward in new and innovative ways. This series of Essential Stitch Guides has been produced in close collaboration with the RSN with the aim of providing a set of definitive works on traditional embroidery techniques. All of the authors were chosen by the RSN and all are graduate apprentices of the Royal School. Goldwork is all about the interplay of colour, texture and light, and it is this quality that is at the heart of Helen McCook's work. The book starts with a historical account of goldwork, then moves on to the materials and equipment required, framing up, how to transfer a design on to fabric and how to start and finish a thread. The main section of the book then covers all of the essential stitches and techniques through clear, step-by-step diagrams and photographs, coupled with beautiful, close-up photographs showing how then can be used in a finished piece. These include couching, bricking, basketweave, cutwork, spangles, s-ing, pearl purl, plate and kid. The book ends with a section in which the techniques described in the previous section are combined to create finished pieces, all beautifully and exquisitely worked by the author.

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Goldwork (RSN Essential Stitch Guides) + Whitework (RSN Essential Stitch Guides) + Stumpwork (RSN Essential Stitch Guides)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Search Press Ltd; Spi edition (9 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844487024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844487028
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 16.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


Carefully worked examples are shown from design to completion in this new book on an old style of embroidery. The young author has studied at the Royal School of Needlework and spent some years working to gain experience with different firms. The clear sections on equipment, materials and the order of work make this a joy and inspiration. The stitches are divided into two sections - couching and cutwork - with a series of clear photographs explaining each stage. There are also helpful hints on handling and positioning threads. Familiar stitches are included in the section on combining techniques. The book has a spiral binding, which makes it lie completely flat for easy reference.-Megonline.co.uk RSN Goldwork and RSN Whitework: Both these books, although covering traditional needle work techniques, cover quite different approaches, with whitework looking very pure and pared down and the goldwork appearing very sumptuous and colourful. Whitework is introduced from its historical roots, but the feeling throughout the book is that, while retaining some of this history in the stitching and processes of working, the movement is into the contemporary period. Many designs have a modern feel to them, and there is some reworking of traditional pieces into up to date designs. The work in Goldwork is much denser, with more variety in the stitches and embellishments. The work looks more traditional, but there are a few pictures towards the end, where techniques are combined and more contemporary pieces showcased. Both books contain a huge selection of stitches and techniques, with an Order of Work given in both for a successful outcome. They are both well illustrated with clear instructions, and would act as both a good introduction and way of moving forward for anyone working in either discipline.-Workshop On The Web Have the 140 years of Royal School of Needlework knowledge and expertise at your fingertips with this new addition to the Essential Stitch Guide range. Goldwork by Helen McCook is an invaluable reference for any stitcher at home whether a beginner or proficient in the technique. An extensive range of effects and stitches in Goldwork are fully explained such as the application of purls and plate, couching effects and Or Nue. There is a thorough introduction to the fabric and threads, framing up the work, getting started and design advice. The book is a vital companion to anyone with a love of Goldwork or the desire to try it for the very first time.-New Stitches Not only is Helen McCook a technically accomplished goldworker, as you might expect of a graduate of the RSN, but she brings a fresh approach to this ancient craft. Helen finds that a 'particularly intriguing facet to the art of metal-thread embroidery is the is the fact that it is an ever changing art form, not only in style of design but also ... the very thread with which you work is made to change. The tarnishing process ... might be said to define in some way goldwork as "the study of elegant decay"'. Certainly, Helen's work is a study in elegance. Part of the team chosen to work on the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, Helen's meticulous approach is displayed throughout this book.-Stitch

About the Author

Having graduated from University of Central England in 2000 with a BA (Hons) in Printed and Dyed Textiles with Art History, and from the Royal School of Needlework apprenticeship in 2003, Helen went freelance for a year before taking up the post of Head of Textiles and Costume for Bonhams Auction House. Having handled a very exciting record-breaking sale of an 18th century court mantua dress, she decided to leave the post after three and a half years to become Atelier/Production Manager for Hand & Lock in central London, running their fashion and interiors embroidery workrooms, working with clients such as Swarovski, Kate Moss, Topshop, Vintage Topshop, Gucci, Asprey, John Stefanidis, Tom Ford, The Royal Opera House, Burberry, Bamfords, Adidas and Ben de Lisi. Images of garments displaying her work for fashion companies have been used in Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle Collections and Hello Magazine. Helen went freelance in April 2008 and has been working on a range of projects including teaching, lecturing, designing, making, exhibiting and consultancy work on valuing, handling and displaying antique textiles. She also still teaches and lectures for the Royal school of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace on the Foundation Degree, Certificated courses and day classes and has also taught in San Francisco for the RSN and travels Britain extensively teaching and lecturing to adult education groups such as the Embroiderers Guild and private textile art groups. She also teaches for the National Gallery in Edinburgh and the National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh. Helen has displayed work in the Kitagawa Gallery in Tokyo, Japan as part of the British/Japanese Council celebration of 150 years trade. Her work has also been exhibited at Alexandra Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Shugborough Hall and Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park. She has also had solo exhibitions at The Old Friary (Lichfield) and The Old High House (Stafford). Her work is in private collections worldwide. Helen had a very productive and exciting year in 2011 which included opening a Glasgow branch of the Royal School of Needlework to teach both day classes and the Certificate and Diploma Courses, being commissioned to design and work three hangings for Hampton Court Palace, designing a set of hassocks and overseeing the work for a prestigious private chapel and having the honour of working as part of the Royal School of Needlework team to embellish the wedding dress and shoes and create the veil for Katherine Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good reference guide 20 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A very good comprehensive little guide to goldwork techniques. As someone with experience in goldwork I would rate this book highly for the way it describes all the main techniques from elementary to advanced. I especially like how she uses traditional techniques in a contemporary way - the use of different coloured metals for example. Also lke the section on Or Nue which is quite different from other forms of goldwork. Photographs are very clear and I would think that anyone with no knowledge of goldwork would be able to produce a satisfactory piece from this book. A good book to have in your library.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So beautiful 12 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you appreciate beautiful things, the pieces of embroidery illustrated in the book are wonderful to see and one can only marvel at and admire the skill and talent that has gone into creating the works. Most pieces are the work of the author, some done when she was but a (very talented) student at the RSN. This is not a book of projects. It is a work which gives a brief history of Goldwork, and then explains the techniques involved, the tools and materials used and the design process. If you love embroidery it certainly will inspire, it is not too basic for someone with some experience of other styles of embroidery nor does it presume a level of knowledge which an almost beginner might not have.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent goldwork instruction book 30 Dec 2012
By Janie
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A well illustrated little book in a ring binding which means it stays open while you follow the instructions. Whilst it is always helpful to have a little knowledge, this book is still suitable for beginners with stitching experience in other fields. All the traditional techniques are beautifully explained with colour photographs and these these techniques are used to create some lovely contemporary and traditional pieces. I love goldwork for its rich heritage and find it inspiring that it can be adapted to contemporary designs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goldswork 12 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I looked inside the book because it is by the R S N and I have other books by them and there are clear instructions and pictures.
I would recomend R.S.N books to any one starting out on a new craft. The cost of these books is very good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent addition to the RSN series 19 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Full of information and ideas. If you are a novice it will help you and experienced goldworkers will find something to delight. The spiral binding on this RSN series makes it easy to use as you can turn it inside out and leave open on a particular page. I went to a workshop run by Helen and enjoyed her style of teaching very much: I'm pleased to say this book is just as good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good explanations 20 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love these Royal school books, something in them for all but for the experts who do not need books
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book 8 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A lovely book with good tips for the beginner and advanced stitcher. Good addition to the RSN range of stitch guides.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars goldwork 25 Nov 2012
By jeanb
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very disappointed in this book .Hazel Everett's book is far better.I was expecting greater things from the RSN( no patterns)
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