Blackwork & Hand Embroidery with Fran Burden

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Blackwork & Hand Embroidery with Fran Burden

Friday 10 August 2018

Session: 1


Time: 10.30am - 4.00pm

Level: Complete Beginner

Maximum Class Size: 10

This Blackwork sampler workshop with Textile artist Frances Burden will give you the opportunity to slow down, unwind and learn the calming techniques of patterning. Geometrical precision and the repetition of motifs gives this embroidery a unique form and although it’s very simple the results are impressive! In this 5 and half hour workshop you will make a sampler that reflects traditional aspects of this fascinating and intricate hand embroidery.

Based on the regularity of it’s stitches, Blackwork is a traditional form of embroidery, usually worked in black thread on a white background, using running stitch, back stitch and cross stitch. It is said that Catherine of Aragon practised this style of hand embroidery in England in the 16th Century while other sources say that it's origin is Moorish

The earliest examples used geometric forms or small floral patterns that have roots in Moorish, Islamic and North African art, and there are examples of this work being used to decorate textiles in Egypt. Repeat pattern, 'tiling' and symmetrical shapes are common in these early examples. Later Blackwork from the Tudor and Elizabethan era, reflects the growing interest in nature, in gardens and the seasons and is much more pictorial.

You will cover the following in class:

  • Discover the history of Blackwork and be demonstrated stitching methods

  • Learn repeat pattern 'tiling' and natural motif's, these can be included in a finished design.

  • Learn practical tips to help you to become a confident stitcher

  • All tools, worksheets and equipment will be provided. Lunch and refreshments are included.


    Frances Burden studied at Slade School of Fine Art and now lives and works in London. Her work explores how process and making can be both adaptable and purposeful. Her medium is embroidery, namely cross stitch on heavy unbleached canvas, and her purpose is to explore pattern making, experimenting in structure and systems within material constraints. Fran is also part of 'Cubitt Studio's' an artist-led organisation based in Islington, London. Founded in 1991, Cubitt now provides 32 artists’ studios with all artist members taking an active part in the running of the organisation.