Monday, March 23, 2015

Assissi Embroidery

I must have a thing for negative space. I originally wrote about my French knot embroidery here, and I take inspiration from other’s void embroidery projects, like one I found here. I enjoy watching a shape build from what is stitched around it.

So I was intrigued and delighted to find out that for centuries embroiderers have been making use of negative space with the art of Assissi embroidery:
From Jos Hendriks

Assissi embroidery dates back to medieval times, where richly coloured threads were stitched onto a background, leaving the motif blank.  Originating in the Italian city that bears its name, the Assissi technique was used to create elaborate textiles for the church. Alters were decorated with embroideries stitched in deep reds, blues and greens, with the design standing out in the white fabric beneath.

The image above, from Tracy on Flickr, combines Assissi embroidery with blackwork to create beautiful patterned designs. 

Most backgrounds are worked in a style of cross stitching – the ‘x’ being stitched over one or multiple threads, depending on the fabric and design. Motifs typically are outlined in a Holbein stitch, which is like a double-sided running stitch, so the line is even on both sides of the fabric. This outline usually uses a darker thread to make the motif pop out even more.

There are some modern examples of Assissi embroidery on Flickr and Pinterest to inspire...

From Arte & Ricamo

See jizee66even

And Jos Hendriks’ web site, Embroidery and Embroider, offers dozens of beautiful and fun Assissi embroidery  designs (Jos has an entire section of duck motifs!). I found this rather gorgeous dragon border that will find its way to some cloth very soon:

I have the traditional red and black threads, but I’m drawn to a modern update with the juicy DMC shades, too. Which combo would you use?

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

1 comment:

  1. great post! when i did my very first cross stitch project, it was assissi embroidery! looking at the piece now, it is a little rough... :) but i still hold onto and love it for what it had taught me and as a marker of how far i have come. i like the "juicy" colors! i would love to see a finished piece in those colors!


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