I recently started a piece of Or Nué, an embroidery technique where a fine metal thread, or pair of threads, is laid in close rows on the surface of the fabric. The metal threads are couched in place using fine threads, usually silk or cotton to create a design. The background, not covered by coloured threads, is couched in a self coloured thread such as fine metallic thread or silk.
Traditionally Or Nué was worked in horizontal rows, however more recently it has been worked in circles.
I decided to work my piece using circles as I love the way the light reflects and dances off the gold threads where the circles meet and angles are formed.
I designed what I hope will be a fairly simple pattern for my first attempt.
The design has been traced onto quilters muslin and shaded with coloured pencils. The coloured shading is used to help disguise any gaps that may appear between the metallic gold threads as they are couched on the surface of the fabric.
You may be wondering what the wriggly black think on the lower left is. That will be a butterfly with wings worked as detached stumpwork. The centre of each of the dashed circles will also be filled with stumpwork petals.
So here's what I have achieved so far.
Because I am working a circular design I have used Gilt Passing Thread #6 as it will not unravel as it is coiled to form the circular design. I have couched with Au Ver a Soie & Madeira stranded silks to form the shading.
So far so good! I thought I would get bored with working the same stitch over and over however it has been really exciting to watch the design grow and develop - it has also been challenging! Or Nué is reputed to be one of the more difficult goldwork techniques and even with a simple design it has been an exercise of patience and learning. But more on that later.