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SIX DAYS OF CREATION courses in ecclesial pictorial embroidery  are conducted in English and are open to eight students per site. Mastery of the techniques typical of the 14th-17th centuries in Byzantium and Russia through lectures and teaching offers students the opportunity to create works of needleart using similar techniques.

This series of workshops  is designed for intermediate to advanced needleworkers. Projects are executed on silk grounds using metallic threads and the finest continuous-filament silks, hand-dyed by the instructor with plant materials. Extensively illustrated lectures cover the history of ecclesiastical embroidery from the earliest records in the Bible through the 17th century, and include an overview of the work done in Western Europe during the medieval period.



Following the completion of the ornamental design and the angel, continuing students embroider a design of a saint, chosen by the instructor. This segment of pictorial ecclesiastical needlework focuses specifically on the hands of the chosen saint, which are considered the most difficult element to embroider correctly. Also included in the design are pattern-couching and split-stitch techniques from earlier classes. After completing the pictorial embroidery of a saint, students are invited to continue their studies with designs of their own choosing.

Instructor:  Olga Fishchuk
Type of Course:  Project and lecture
Proficiency Level:  Intermediate to Advanced
Length of Course:  Each stage requires attendance at one six-day workshop
Ground Material:  Silk
Kit Contents:  Silk ground fabric mounted on linen, hand-dyed silk threads, metallic threads, design, transfer materials, and instructions
Materials:  List of supplies to be provided by student will be sent upon registration


Returning students create the bust of an angel, similar to those seen in embroidered icons.  Primarily worked in split stitch using fine silk threads, the face, upper wings and garment bring the angel to life. Bricked couching of fine gold metallic threads for the halo adds to the splendor of this piece. An ornamental border of gold couched over padding completes the design.

Transfer techniques and pattern couching, characteristically used for ecclesiastical robes, garments and halos, introduce the student to skills representative of this style of needleart. Executing a small ornamental design with a flower, vine and leaves, the student learns several couching patterns utilizing silks and thin metallic threads and explores the creation, placement and invisible couching of cords blending metallics and silk. The design also includes tightly packed split stitch and stem stitch using fine silk threads.

This example of the teacher's work is ready for embroidering the border.

SEPTEMBER 1-7, 2019
Diakonia Retreat Center, Metropolis of Atlanta

Salem, SC


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