Inky Experiments: Medieval Embroidery Fabric Marking

In 2021, the east kingdom Ministry of Arts and Sciences put together a Laurel’s challenge display, to challenge artisans to work on new projects during the plague. The premise of my project was to answer the question: what kind of Ink did European embroiderers use to mark their fabric for their embroideries in the 13-16th centuries? A copy of my research paper for the Laurel’s Challenge display can be found here.

However, this paper was only the beginning of the research.

One of my fellow artisans, Amelie von Hohensee, researched pattern transfer methods for her Laurel’s Challenge display. Together we combined our research into similar topics to provide a research paper on the methods of embroidery under drawing marking and pattern transfer based on primary sources from fourteenth through fifteenth century Europe. Our paper was published on the East Kingdom Gazette on October 13, 2021 and can be read here.

To further our understanding of this research, I completed three practical experiments as noted below:

The First Experiment

Experiments in Inks

This post explores the issue of what kind of Ink was used to paint the under drawing of the embroidery.

The Ink Recipes

The Second Experiment

The Prick and Pounce Method

This post examines a method to transfer one’s design to the embroidery fabric.

Prick and Pounce

The Third Experiment

The Shaded Under Drawing

This post details a practical experiment in exploring Cennini’s method of adding shading to an under drawing for an embroidery.

Shading the Underdrawing