I spent a fascinating day on Wednesday on a visit to the RSN. I only had a fairly sketchy idea of what they were about, other than their recent work to produce the lace for the royal wedding.
Set in the magnificent Hampton Court Palace, we were given a great introduction to the scope of the work done there and then the chance to see some of the intricate and time consuming conservation work undertaken. The work is exquisite, but the painstaking nature of the work would not be for everyone. (especially not me!) We watched one of the skilled needlewomen re-applying very old gilt stumpwork to a new velvet backing, if I'd not seen it done I would never have believed that the finished work had not always been on that piece of velvet. We were given a tantalising peek at the world of bespoke embroideries made for the very rich and were told of the items now in their collection as the owner couldn't aford the conservation they wanted and as a result, donated the work to the school.
They had one whole wall filled with pigeon holes of crewel wool in every shade imaginable! I coveted this!
We were told of the technique of using more than 1 colour in a needle to achieve subtle tone and colour changes - something I can use in my work too.
A totally fascinating visit - I also enjoyed the buzz of London after sleepy Northants and must remember to go down again to see the Miro exhibition.