Prep Work

I thought the line drawing was going to be pretty straightforward but the more I worked at it the more it became apparent that it was not going to work without some adjustments.  The feathers on the outside of the wing were too prominent and the whole shape was wrong.  I am not an accomplished artist and my skills usually only get me as far as I need to get the shape on the fabric and then work the details out in needle and thread but this project will require more steps.  Thank goodness for tracing paper… After many attempts the feathers finally looked like they should but then I couldn’t just tweak the shape so scrapped the rounded wings and spread them out.  Then they were too straight so a little curve had to be put back in. 

Hands are difficult to draw realistically but the feet were always going to be a problem – there were none on the original stone carving and I have no idea where they should be so, I added the scroll.  I will think about what will be written on the scroll as I stitch but I will have to be in Latin so a little research will have to be done.  The drapery is going to be a huge challenge and I haven’t come up with a solution for the harp that is still floating in mid air – maybe I can explain that away as “heavenly”…

In any case, this is the final line drawing.  I have an idea of the order of work and which threads and techniques to use but since they will be new to me for the most part, I knew I would need to transfer the design twice.  I will have to experiment as I progress trying out the combinations initially on one angel to make sure they will work.  Then I’ll go ahead and complete the stitching on the second design and hope I’ve got it right.  I have chosen a fine white linen and it has been prepared and mounted on a slate frame.  It looks quite like the one in the image from Opera Nuovo except the figure is angel not a saint and there will only be one embroiderer.

As a 21st century embroiderer who focuses on goldwork techniques, I use texture more often than colour to achieve my design objectives so adding colour is a real challenge.  Normally, I would dive straight in to the stitching but this time it is important to consider colour first.  The colours on the motifs on the Fishmongers and Vintners Palls are quite vibrant, so a coloured rendition of the line drawing would assist in the selection of threads.  I have quite a few pencil crayons that have survived over the years, some Derwent and Reeves watercolour pencils, Prismacolor, Laurentian, Crayola and a gold metallic gel pen – nothing that hasn’t been around for at least 5 years (the gel pen) and lots that have been in my collection for over 25 (the Prismacolor and Crayola)! 

As with the sketching, it was slow going at first but as I worked it began to get more comfortable and I was able to get a better feeling for how the embroidery might work: the length and direction of stitches, the layering of colours and the addition of passing for highlights.  Moving onto the drapery in green and gold, then the floor and the background in laid gold with a diaper pattern. I hope the stitching goes as smoothly…

For the keen Tudor embroiderer… if you would like to experiment with your own angel, send me an email request and I will send you a pdf of the line drawing. Please note: This is not a teaching project, simply my research blog with pictures of my experimental embroidery of a Tudor Ecclesiastical Motif. At this time, I will not be able to help with any stitching related questions… comments and research questions only, please!

10 thoughts on “Prep Work

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  1. I love the final design. The scroll is a great solution to the problem of the feet and fits really well with the design. I am very tempted to stitch along. Already, my head is running possible techniques for various parts. I am really looking forward to following your progress.

  2. So exciting ! I love stitching angels ! I would love to try your Angel design if it is possible can you send me the pdf drawing ?

  3. Hello , I love stitching angels and I would love to have a go at stitching your design ,yes please😊 . I did send a comment to your blog and then realised that I could reply directly to your email here . I expect this would be the way you might send the pdf of the line drawing . I am enjoying your blog and am looking forward to seeing how the angel turns out . love Debbie x

  4. Sending email and looking forward to exploring this design through stitch along with you. Thanks for sharing the design!

  5. I would very much like a line drawing to play with you. I like the idea of setting up a practice Angel. Thank you.



    Darcy Walker


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  6. Your angel looks wonderful! Thank you for sharing the creative process with us. Please may I have a pdf of the design? At present I really have too many other projects, but I do love your angel.
    Thank you.

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