Goldwork: RSN certificate module 3

Finally, blackwork is done and I’m moving on! My finished blackwork piece is in for assessment over Easter, but I’ll post a proper conclusion on that whole thing once I get it back.

For now I’ll do a little walk through of the starting steps on the next project: goldwork. The design I’ve gone for is a goldfish, for obvious reasons. Given that I have literally zero understanding of this technique and the elements I need to include the designing part has been a bit of a head fuck, but I think I’m actually super happy with the direction the tutors have helped me take here.


The prep is quite long for this technique. For a start, framing up has the added kerfuffle of attaching the silk to calico with a herringbone stitch.

And then the transfer of design is done by pricking and pouncing, which I’m not a massive fan of. Stabbing all the tiny holes in the tracing paper is fun, but then I made a bit of a balls up of tapping the chalk through the holes onto the silk.

Never mind though, it brushes off. After painting the lines in with white watercolour and an insanely thin brush I could deal with the chalk debacle pretty easily.

The silk then has to be fixed to the backing calico with tiny stab stitches; all over in the filled area and only along the lines in the open areas. Giving poor little fish guy the pitiful look of a child with chicken pox.


Now some padding can be done! The body part of the design needs to transferred to felt in the same way as the main design, and cut out several times to make pieces of decreasing size. These will build up the padding for the fish body and give him a subtle 3D effect.

They’re attached smallest first and biggest last, to make the finished shape as smooth as possible.


I’ll also need to complete a area of soft string padding to meet the brief, so that section of my design will be the crest-y bit. String is waxed and doubled up over and over to create the perfect thickness to fill the shape. Working from the centre out, one gradually removes chunks of string from the fabric side of the bunch until only a couple of strands make it right out to the end.


The finished shape is (hopefully) a smooth, elegant curve, which will get covered with lines of gold at a 45 degree angle.


One of his fins didn’t cut the mustard, so I’ve removed that and will need to add a new piece for homework. But still, I feel like I’ve made a good start!

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