This month we're really excited to introduce you to goldwork artist Becky Hogg!
Goldwork is an embroidery style that’s thousands of years old, originally worn by kings and emperors. It uses metals and coloured threads to build up designs and create exceptional pieces.
Learn more about Becky and her beautiful craft below...
How did you first get into goldwork?
My introduction to Goldwork was in the first year of my training at the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) and to be honest, at first, I thought it was the most intimidating of all the techniques with its association with regalia, high end haute couture and ceremonial dress. In particular I was in awe of the Queens coronation robe, worked at the RSN in 1953 which showcased the technique and the skill of the 12 stitchers.
Out of all the embroidery techniques I found this to be the most impressive and one I was quickly fascinated by, with its link to history, the specialist threads and age old stitches dating back to the medieval period.
Can you tell us how your first project went?
My first project is now hanging in my parents house, pride of place! A very traditional piece depicting a Crown, a pomegranate and a Fleur de Ly.
This was a training piece which taught me the different styles of padding, how to handle the delicate threads and the precision required for each stitch. This piece, though far from perfect, was invaluable to my training and little did I know it was something that I would do today!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I think I'm mainly inspired by the materials and stitches in Goldwork, and I have always felt that they suit my design style, for their structure and bold simplicity. There are so many amazing metal threads, my favourite at the moment is a silk wrapped purl, a fine metal coil that has been wrapped in silk thread, so of course the colours available are vast.
I'm always collecting feathers on my dog walks, so birds play a big part in my work as well as woodland creatures that I see around, then I'm thinking, how would this translate into a workable kit and it goes from there.
What do you love most about the process?
When I design something I am thinking how the stitches will fit into the stylised shapes I'm creating. I love the initial sampling stage, playing around with pattern and different metals to achieve the best outcome. Because a lot of my time is taken up with kit production it's a joy to go back to the drawing board and sit with my fabric and threads experimenting and being creative.
What would be your best advice for those starting out?
I would advise to anyone starting out to try out a workshop first, either on or offline - seeing things first hand and gaining knowledge from a professional is invaluable.
Sampling the stitches in small squares is also a good way to learn, breaking down the stitch and practicing it.
What are you working on just now?
I run workshops regularly, 'Sewing on Sea' in my hometown of Hastings and also at the RSN, so I have workshops to prep for and I always have kits in production for my online sales. I've also been working on my new website which will be live before Christmas, this has involved professional photo shoots of all my kits as well as a 'behind the scenes' film!
I am also planning further 'pocket size' kits to add to my range, so watch this space!