The term embroidery generally refers to any textile foundation that is decorated with needle and thread, although embroidery can be worked on other foundations such as leather. Embroiderers have almost complete freedom to create either linear patterns or flowing pictorial compositions; the needle and thread are not bound by a geometric foundation, as on a loom.
The church was one of the most important customers for high-quality embroidery. All of the textiles involved in the liturgy—priests’ vestments, hangings, even Bibles—were commonly embellished with some form of embroidery. Religious vestments, in particular, typically had elements of embroidery in their design; the tradition of ornamental bands, called orphreys, appears at least as early as the thirteenth century. Contemporary fashion, as well as religious tradition, played a role in vestment design, and sumptuous textile designs with no apparent religious connotations were also used in the church.
The classic designs were first published in 1850s in England, and were offered then as iron-on embroidery transfers created specifically for embroidery on vestments and other church linens. Many of those hand drawn designs, and there were thousands of them, were produced in England during the 13th and 14th centuries when ecclesiastical art was in its glory. It was during this time that English embroidery houses were more respected than those of any other country, including Sicily and Italy. English embroidery was known as Opus Anglicanum, English work, and referred directly to the fine needlework of Medieval England done for ecclesiastical use on vestments, hangings, Communion and mass sets and other liturgical linens.
The want at the present day of a practical treatise on Church Embroidery is so manifest that it would be superfluous to make any apology to the public for offering, in the following pages, the result of several years personal experience in the various branches of high-class needle- work.. The beautiful art of Church Embroidery is so mysterious and perplexing to the novice, and so simple and fascinating when understood, that one desires nothing more earnestly than that he may become proficient, if only for the lasting delight the knowledge will assuredly confer. you can also find Custom Iron on Patches.
In 1995, a small unused room in the Icon Painting School at the Moscow Orthodox Theological Academy was converted into a studio for a single student interested in the lost art of church embroidery. This became the Pictorial Embroidery Department of the Icon Painting School housed in a larger facility within the famous Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra outside of Moscow, and takes on three or four students each year. Combining the spiritual guidance of the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, the expertise of the oldest iconography school in Russia, intensive personal instruction, and access to one of the finest collections of Orthodox liturgical art in the world (the Lavra’s vestry), the department produces some of the very best ecclesial embroidery in the world, and its graduates are true masters of their craft.