A Week of Embroidery: Day 2-3

Monday started off bright and early with an 8:00 a.m. breakfast of simple but filling fare and an assortment of beverages.  By 9:00 a.m. six women and one man gathered in the embroidery workshop where we set up our work stations and were introduced to Olga Fishchuk, our instructor

2-My work area shared with Ann

Olga hails from Kiev, Ukraine.  She was born in the town of Zhytomir (Ukraine) and is a former journalist. She is a graduate of the Pictorial Embroidery Department of the Icon Painting School under the Moscow Orthodox Theological Academy (Sergiev Posad, Moscow Region, Russia). During her four years of study there, she participated extensively in research in museums throughout Russia, learning to create original new works in the ancient style by using the ancient technology. She also studied icon painting, iconology and history of church art as well. ~Hexaemeron website

As you can see, there were large ceiling to floor windows allowing bright sunshine into the room.  I shared a table workspace with a woman from central Ohio.  You can see my stand and light to the right in the photo.  The room was comfortably air conditioned.  I learned that silk material, the foundation on which the embroidery would be done, is temperamental when it comes to humidity and temperature. Who knew?!

You can see a water bottle on the window behind my table-mate.  When Olga saw that, she nearly had a heart attack.  We quickly learned that silk stains easily so NO food or drink was permitted anywhere near our work stations.  That water bottle remained unopened the rest of the week, unless its owner took it across the room for a quick swig!

We learned to dress our embroidery frames, pulling the material quite tightly across the frame and securing it with thumb tacks.  Olga staples her work to the frame.  When Olga checked my work, she determined it was not tight enough and pulled it so hard I thought it would tear.  Finally it was as tight as a piece of cardboard.  The reason is to have no movement of the material allowing smooth stitching.

The design area would be the size of my hand – from the heel of my hand to the tips of my fingers.

1-Dressing Frame

And then the practice began.  We worked in 1 x 1 inch squares.

2-Split Stitch 3-Split Stitch Curve 4-Couch padding 5-Couching technique

I was glad when 5:00 p.m. rolled around each day because by then I was tired on many levels.  We enjoyed dinner as a group, getting to know one another, and then enjoyed a lecture each evening giving by Olga.  By 8:00 p.m. we were all glad to retire to our respective rooms to rest in preparation for the next day.

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