Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Opus Anglicanum Stitch Study of St Katherine’s Head

This is a truly short post !!

“To Copy, is to Understand”

Opus Anglicanum Stitch Study of St Katherines head

As you can see, I just started another project.  This time its a 1 inch stitch study of St Katherine’s head.  The original artefact is c.14th Century, I think.

I’m working from a very small and not very clear, black & white image, and now I’m up to the really fun stuff: her hair.

In the picture above you can see I decided to make the hair out of Hollie Stitch over a gold passing No.5 thread.  The lovely rich brown, Silk Mill, single thread that I’m using, is truly luscious.  The image is not clear enough for me to be certain how they made the hair, but I can see features like ‘bumps’ in the pattern, so my interpretation is Hollie Stitch.   


I used 2 strands to Split Stitch most of the face and neck.  I only found out afterwards that I should have used only one strand for the skin and two for the clothes, but this was something I had to find out the hard way on the long and windy road of learning.

I couched the eyebrows, eyes, chin, outline etc, as I can see they did in those days.

Needless to say, its incredibly close work, with no shortcuts.

Since completing the face I have found a really good close- up of an Opus Anglicanum face that I will link to next time.  I was pleased to note that it confirms a lot that I had worked out for myself, but peeved that I had made some pretty big mistakes, like the treatment of skin.

She will be wearing a delectable old English crown very soon though, with lots of cute beads.  

As I said a while back, all my stitch studies from now on are going to be of complete motifs, not just miles and miles of doodle-cloth work!

I have learnt an awful lot from stitching this tiny face.  Mostly importantly, rather like applying stage paint in miniature, you need to depict an image that takes into consideration that it will be viewed from a certain distance…



The Bag

I am extremely pleased to be able to link to the image of the actual  sweetbag that is on public display on one of  the Metropolitan museum website pages. 

Believe it or not, this is the image I paid for that I have been telling everyone about for such a long time. 

Its High Definition, which means you can magnify it a whole 11 times by pulsing your computer mouse.

From it you will see the oodles of metal thread that went into its construction, and hopefully you will also understand why it is so difficult to re-create and has taken me such a long time to get even this far.

The link is here.

In the bottom right of the first image you see, it will say ‘Full Screen’.  Click on that and wait for the image to have a very wide black border. 

Then on the left hand side you will see a Plus and a Minus sign, representing magnification buttons.  Click the Plus sign 13 times for a Windows Interface and 11 times for a Macintosh.

Then just drool !!


Gotta go ppl !



  1. Looking forward to seeing progress on St Katherine!

  2. Hey there,

    Thanks a lot.

    Yeah, working through this much faster than I thought I would
    considering its so small.