September 13, 2012

golden threads

Edited 9-24-12
A few readers asked about the silver instrument seen the pictures below. It is an awl, used for aiding the placement of the needle from underneath the fabric. A very detailed post with illustrations is here, although in Russian. 
There is a wonderful little studio in St. Petersburg, Russia that I enjoy visiting whenever I get a chance. The women working there are very gifted artists and ultimate craftswomen. Their specialty is embroidering items for the Russian Orthodox Church such as Shrouds of Christ, clerical garments and vestments, headdresses, covers for sacred vessels and the like. Their attention to detail is incredible, to the untrained eye their work looks like it was done by machine. But each and every stitch is taken carefully by hand. The larger pieces are worked in groups, smaller are usually by one artist. 

They also offer classes in church embroidery during the summer. Perhaps one day I'll be lucky enough to be able to attend, not because I want to be able to embroider icons (although that would be very cool too), but because I would love to sit and stitch with them and steep myself in the atmosphere in this wonderful place.

When I visited them this summer unannounced, they very generously showed me around the studio, happily pulled out works in progress for me to see and asked me about my work as well. Luckily I had a work in progress with me and pictures on my phone. It turned out to be a lovely afternoon of sharing and mutual admiration. One of the ladies gave me a wonderful book as a gift after seeing my work. It is called The Architectural Flora of St. Petersburg, only in English, sorry. I know I will be referencing to this book again and again, comparing my own photographs and looking up addresses.

The embroidery studio's website is here, only in Russian, but do click through to see all the pictures, and here is the blog post about the last time I was there. Enjoy the pictures from this visit:


Gail Ellspermann said...

What stunning work - thank you for sharing this! How nice that they spent so much time with you. Art, the international language :)

Karen L R said...

How extraordinary! Natalya, this work is amazing, and such a treat to see here. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Anonymous said...

What is that tool with a needle in the second photo? and what is it used for?

Fascinating work!

Vivien Zepf said...

Wow; amazing. Thanks for sharing. What a special treat to be able to spend time with them! I'm so happy for you!

Norma Schlager said...

Stunningly beautiful work! I, too, wonder what that silver toned tool is.

Natalya Khorover Aikens said...

I didn't notice that tool until I looked at my photos. I'll try to find out..

Jeannie said...

Wow! Their art is so fine it looks as if it is painted. Thanks so much for sharing this treasure trove of goodness. I hope you do get to study with them.