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11 April 2014

Anglo-Saxon Embroidery for the New Hoard Gallery

Work is underway for the new Staffordshire Hoard Gallery which will open at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in October. Many different crafts people and contractors will be required to complete the new gallery and their stories will be shared on the blog as much as possible. Recent blog posts covered very new technologies with the 3D scanning and the making of replicas blogs. This week the blog will start to talk about the creation of the new embroideries which will hang in the new gallery and will be created using traditional craft techniques and materials.

Birmingham Museum approached the Embroiderer’s Guild to ask whether they would create embroidered hangings for the new Staffordshire Hoard gallery. The West Midlands Region took on the challenge and put a call out for people to draw designs and stitch the pieces. The volunteers undertook historical research and produced some initial designs. After further discussion and drawings, as well as a visit to the conservation lab to view some pieces of the Hoard and replica foils, they are now getting close to having the designs ready to go to the stitchers, with the final drawings being completed this month. All the designs are taken directly from the decoration on pieces of the Hoard or have been inspired by other Anglo-Saxon artworks of similar date.

Hoard object K1338

Just one of the objects used for the designs

Simple line drawing sketch

Simple line drawing sketch

Simple line drawing sketch

Simple line drawing sketch inspired by foils

The materials that will be used have been carefully chosen; there is loomstate natural linen and crewel wool dyed using the natural dyes that were available at the time. These have been received and are ready to be kitted and sent to the stitchers once final designs are approved.

At the meeting of the design team on 24th March we put names in a hat and drew out the names of the volunteers who will be asked to stitch a piece. Stitchers from all over the West Midlands Region will be involved. The time scale is tight to do a public embroidery project of this scale and complexity. We will keep you up to date with progress as we can.

More information about the Embroiders guild can be found here:

Clare Wilkins,

Volunteer from the Embroiders Guild.