Stumpwork, Old and New
Written by Rissa Peace, June 2002, all rights reserved.
- "Stumpwork embroidery is a raised form of embroidery created on one
background and transferred to another, ground fabric, and is three-dimensional
through the use of padding, beads, wire and/or needle lace stitches. " -
Jeanmarie Bruccia, from Jenny June's Fancy
I love raised embroidery and nothing is more dimensional than Stumpwork.
When I began this journey, I was struck by the very different designs that all
fell under the umbrella of Stumpwork. The term Stumpwork is a 19th Century
invention that describes raised work and stuffed work. In period, it was
referred to as raised work, "embost" or even "brodees en relief".
 I had seen these marvelous embroideries on padded chests and wall
hangings in museums and books and marveled at their soft sculpture design and
heavy use of needle lace. Then much later, I ran across Jane Nicholas' series
of books and although Ms. Nicholas gives wonderful histories of the art form, I
was most impressed by her adaptation of the traditional to something more
modern. Then I read with great interest the debate on what really is and is not
authentic on the Embroiderers Guild of America's (EGA) mailing list and among
members of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). It would seem that there
is a schism among the purists, but the end result is a greater awareness of
raised embroidery and its design potential.
First, there is very traditional raised work and padded embroidery that is
firmly rooted in the designs of 17th century England (reaching its peak in
1650.) This is represented by authentic reproductions and newer renditions of
traditional designs as seen in publications like that of Barbara and Roy
Hirst. Some people refer to this as English Stumpwork. The second is a more
modern style typified by Jane Nicholas. This is sometimes referred to as
Australian Stumpwork. Both types of Stumpwork are very dimensional designs, and
they employ many of the same techniques for achieving this effect, but they are
really quite different.
Regardless of the style you select, there are ample resources to get you
started on your journey!
Stumpwork information and examples:
Stumpwork designers and retail kits:
Free Stumpwork patterns:
Stumpwork specific books and leaflets:
|Ashby, Daphne & Woolsey, Jackie. Stumpwork, Why Not?|
|Best, Muriel. Stumpwork: Historical & Contemporary Raised Embroidery.
Hardcover. 136 Pages. ISBN 0-71345-5721.|
|Dennis, Kay. A Beginner's Guide to Stumpwork. Search Press. Soft
cover. 80 Pages. ISBN 0-85532-8703. |
|Hinde, Annette . Australian Wildflowers in Stumpwork. Soft cover.
104 pages. |
|Hirst, Babarba. Raised Embroidery: A Practical Guide to Decorative
Stumpwork. Merehurst. Soft cover. 80 Pages. ISBN 1-85391-2034|
|Holzberger, Loretta. Needlelace & Stumpwork: Contemporary Designs &
Techniques for Dimensional Embroidery. Self Published. 100 Pages. ISBN
|Nicholas, Jane. Stumpwork Dragonflies. Milner. Hardcover. 96
pages. ISBN: 1-86351-2624.|
|Nicholas, Jane. Stumpwork Embroidery: A Collection of Fruits Flowers
and Insects for Contemporary Raised Embroidery. Milner. Hardcover. 216
pages. ISBN: 1-86351-1830.|
|Nicholas, Jane. Stumpwork Embroidery: Design and Projects.
Milner. Hardcover. 160 pages. ISBN: 186351208X. |
|Remmington, Preston. English Domestic Needlework of the XVI, XVII, and
XVIII Centuries. Dated 1945. There is a nice historical article that
precedes the dozens of black and white photos of the exhibit. The author was
the Curator of Renaissance and Modern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.|
|Wislon, Erica. The Craft of Silk and Gold Thread Embroidery and Stump
Work. Scribner's Sons. Soft cover. 96 pages. ISBN: 0-684-15067-0.|
|Victoria and Albert Museum. Flowers in English Embroidery.
Curator notes and guide, with black and white photographs, for an exhibit.
Stumpwork specific projects in magazines:
|Issue 14 "In Prayse of the Needle" pp. 24|
|Issue 22 "Scottish Thistle" pp. 42|
|Issue 26 "Papillon" Butterfly Box. pp. 32|
|Issue 27 "Summer Fruit" Drawstring work bag. pp. 28|
|Issue 29 "Damselfly" by Jane Nicholas. pp. 24|
|Issue 31 "Liberty" a Stumpwork Cricket in gold. pp. 26|
|Issue 32 "Elizabethan Dragonfly" pp. 22|
|Embroidery and Cross Stitch
|Volume 3, Number 2. "Gardener's Delight" pp. 48|
|Volume 3, Number 3. "Goldwork Heartsease & Strawberries" pp. 72|
|Volume 3, Number 6. "Pansy Parade" cover and pp. 26|
|Volume 4, Number 1. "La Petite Pooch" pp. 54|
|Volume 4, Number 6. "Raised Embroidery" pp. 20, "The Language
of Flowers" pp. 22 and "Elizabethan Rose" pp. 28|
|Volume 5, Number 1. "Golden Whistlers" by Jean Fletcher pp. 58|
|Volume 5, Number 3. "Heartsease and Strawberries" pp. 22|
|Volume 5, Number 4. "Grazing and Lazing"|
|Volume 5, Number 5. "Violets" pp. 62|
|Volume 5, Number 6. "Golden Gum Blossoms" pp. 33|
|Volume 6, Number 3. "Flemish Still Life" pp. 36 and "Stumpwork
Grapes" pp. 68|
|Volume 6, Number 4. "Violets from Windsor" pp. 58 and "Champagne
Rose" pp. 64|
|Volume 6, Number 5. "Bursting Red Gum Blossoms" pp. 66|
|Volume 6, Number 8. "Four Sheep Grazing" pp. 44|
|Volume 6, Number 9. "Strelitzia Stumpwork" Bird of Paradise pp.
|Volume 6, Number 10. "Scarlet Honeyeater and Wattle"|
|Volume 7, Number 10. "Native Flowers of Australia"|
|Volume 7, Number 11. "Merry Christmas Robin"|
|Volume 8, Number 2. "Laugh Kookaburra, Laugh"|
|Sampler & Antique Quarterly. Spring 2002. Volume 26. "The
Lady's Dogwood". |
 Wallis, Branwen Madyn.