Traditional Embroidery & Folk Design

a piece of whitework embroidery made in raw silk

The variety of cultures and traditions all around the World performs an enormously rich diversity of styles, techniques, and traditions of embroidery. I am fascinated with all types of whitework, goldwork, crewel, and etc. I believe that while practicing silk shading, Jacobean embroidery you can easily learn not only the technique but also acquire some historical issues concerning the reign of King James I, Queen Anna, and Tudors.

the cover of a hand-made photo album decorated with whitework made in raw silka hand-made photo album decorated with whitework made in raw silka close-up of a hand-made photo album decorated with whitework made in raw silk

Whitework on silk, cotton, and linen made with raw silk thread is one more thing that I am passionate about. By its bleach simplicity, it reveals some historical issues that describe the typical way of life in Europe, Russia, and India many centuries ago, when modern conveniences as hot water, soap were a real luxury, and to keep the lining clean people used burned wood, washing boards, and Sun as a natural bleacher. Such cleaning methods dictated the rules - no coloured fabrics or threads. So, the women were exercising their creativity and skills on making pure masterpieces on white and with white only.

a close-up of a hand-made photo album decorated with Jacobean embroidery motifsthe cover of of a hand-made photo album decorated with Jacobean embroidery motifsa close-up of a hand-made photo album decorated with Jacobean embroidery motifs

The same way of garment decoration used Russian embroiderers who embellished white woollen shawls (“ubrus”) with tiny flowers, curls, lines, and circles stitched with cotton, silk, gold, and silver threads, beads and pearls. They created breathtaking ornamental patterns, that became recognisable many years after, getting the name of Pavlovo-Posad Shawls and being transformed into a block-printed design in the 18th century.

the cover of of a hand-made photo album decorated with motifs of traditional Pavlovo-Posad Shawlsthe cover of of a hand-made photo album decorated with motifs of traditional Pavlovo-Posad Shawls

In a while, Pavlovo-Posad design became a traditional one, associated with Russian culture. The image of Pavlovo-Posad Shawl seems like being formed in a kaleidoscope. It inspires me a lot. Transforming some elements of its design I embroider the patterns with bullion stitch, giving the surface the texture and fulfilling the pieces with national character. I respect folk traditions, to my mind keeping some of them I keep our infinite history.