It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal School of Needlework - Embroidering Royalty

Royal School of Needlework was founded in 1872. Its aim was to employ gentlewomen and restore ornamental needlework to its original respected position among the decorative arts, create new needlework and restore the old. In the late 19th century it employed over a hundred women who were working on designs created by e.g., Burne-Jones, Lord Leighton and Water Crane. William Morris who was instrumental in the development of the Arts and Crafts movement was undoubtedly the most significant among these artists as he was directly concerned with the development of the needlework.
Today the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace is considered the best in the world for the art of hand embroidery: silk shading, goldwork, crewel work and blackwork.  

The wedding dress of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge (designed by Ms Sarah Burton)  paid tribute to the Arts and Crafts tradition. The bodice and the skirt were hand embroidered with floral motifs at the Royal School of Needlework using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique which originates in Ireland. Kate Middleton’s shoes were designed also by Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton and the florals were hand embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework. During the embroidery the workers washed their hands every thirty minutes to keep the lace and threads pristine, the needles were changed every three hours  to keep them  sharp and clean.
Watch the CNN video about the Royal School of Needlework  – A very nice reminiscence for those of us who recently visited this school. 

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