Friday 15 September 2017

Stumpwork with Kay & Michael Dennis

Kay Dennis - Mouse in a Blackberry Bush (Stumpwork)

Recently Kay and Michael Dennis came to talk to the City of York Embroiderers' Guild about Stumpwork.  Stumpwork is a type of raised embroidery, using an array of different materials and embroidery techniques, including needlelace. Stumpwork came to England in the 17th century and was done by teenage girls of the aristocracy.  Then it was known simply as raised embroidery.

Kay learned to embroider as a child and learned stumpwork from Barbara & Roy Hirst.  She has even got her husband, Michael, hooked on the technique.  You can hear Kay talking about stumpwork and Barbara & Roy Hirst here.

Here are some examples of Kay & Michael's work...

Kay Dennis - Toadstools

Kay Dennis - Stumpwork casket showing detail to sides and lid
Michael Dennis - Fantasy Bird

Kay Dennis - Acorn & Berries

The following day, I got a chance to try my hand at some stumpwork at one of their workshops with a seabird theme. 

Kay Dennis - Sea Birds

Kay Dennis - Seabird & Lobster Pots

Kay had some lovely examples of birds at the seaside.   Our aim was a water's edge picture.  We began by painting some puddles onto our calico and then adding some rock shapes in vilene which were stab stitched in place.  Next they were covered in stitch using embroidery threads.  After that we added the body of our seabird.  The body was made up of layers of felt which was then covered in leather...
The beginnings of a stumpwork seabird

Next came a needlelace wing...

Needlelace wing in progress

As you can see it's very much a work in progress.  Lovely to have a go at something I've never tried before.  Thanks Kay and Michael!

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