Tutorial: Build the picture – how to fill in a design



My V&A Visit Notes & Picks

I visited the V&A storage room in December 2001. I viewed three pieces.
Day before my V&A appointment my digital camera was broken in an accident, so I was forced to use my video camera. These are stills from that footage. Luckily it had amazing macro.

My Notes and Observations from my Visit to the V&A backroom.PDF

Personal photos from appointment:

Beaded Saints (I call them the Bead Gees since they look like Barry, Maurice, and Robin, sorry, child of the disco era…)

Beaded Orphrey

Beaded Stole

Cheat Sheet: German Terminology

Here are some basic terms you will encounter in German art books or plate listings. If you can pick out at least these terms you should have the basics.


Textil/Textilen – Textile/Textiles
Seide = Silk
Leinen – Linen
Wolle = Wool
Baumwolle = Cotton
Metall = Metal
Edelmetall = Precious Metal
Silber = Silver
Geld/Gold = Gold
Holz = Wood (as in made of, a “wooden” object)
Baum = Tree
Korallen = Coral
Email, Emaille = Enamel
Kette = Chain
Bein = Bone
Elfenbein = Elephant Ivory
Glas = Glass
Kristall = Crystal (Glass)
Bergkristall = Crystal (Quartz)

Perle/Perlen = synonymous for beads and pearls of all kinds.
Glasperlen = specifically beads made of glass
Flußperlen = “Water perles”/Freshwater Pearls. Only seen occassionally.

Schmuck = many meanings… jewelry, ornament, embellishment, trinket… sparklies!

Schmuckbrakteaten = decorative coinlike discs, usually gold. These are a thin stamped highly detailed and decorative gold discs of foil usually sewn onto altar hangings or liturgical ceremonial wear. Sometimes seen applied to paintings as well. Usually seems to be interchangable with Plättchen. The same as us calling the fake round shiny metal things on belly dance scarves “coins”. They look like them, sorta, but aren’t.

Plättchen = discs or plates (known as bezants in sca)
Goldplattchen = Gold discs (known as bezants in sca)

Stäbchen = Sticks, also refers both to knitting and crochet needles as well as chopsticks, and bugle-shaped beads.

Item Terminology

Stickerei = Embroidery
Perlenstickerei = Beaded Embroidery
Gestickt = Embroidered
Gewebt = Woven
Reliquien, Reliquiare = Reliquary
Ziborium = Container for the Holy Host (Communion wafer)

Farben = Color, coloring

Rot = Red
Gelb = yellow
Grün = Green
Blau = Blue
Purpur = purple
Schwarz = Black
Weiß = White

Musuem, Art and Location terms

Kunst = Art
Künstler = Artist

Sammlungen, Sammlung = Collection
Museumsführer = Musuem Guide (brochure)
Ausstellungen = Exhibitions
Ausstellungskatalog = Exhibitions Catalog
Landesmuseum = State Museum
Orte = Places, location
Stadt = City, municipality
Staat, Staaten = State (region/province)
Öffentliche = Public, as in publically owned or operated.
Halböffentlich, Halböffentlicher = Semi-public
Privatbesitz = Private Hands (Private Collection/Collector)

Historisches = Historical
Geschichte = History
Kunstgewerbe = Arts and crafts, applied arts
Sonstiges = Miscellaneous, assorted, various

Kirche/Kirchen = Church (Parish)
Dom = Cathedral
Dommuseum = Cathedral Musuem
Domschatz = Cathedral Treasure
Kunstschatz = Art Treasure
Schatz = Treasury

Kloster = Monastery, friary, cloistered religious order (singular)
Klöster = Monasteries, friaries, cloistered religious orders (plural)
Frauenkloster = Convent, nunnery (singular)
Frauenklöster = Convents, nunneries (plural

Time and Numbers

Jahr/Jahren = Year/Years
Abbreviated is “j”
Useage: 1635 jahren or jahr 1478

Jahrhundert – Century
Abbreviated is “jh”
Useage: 16. jahrhundert is 16th century – not 1600′s.

Centuries are always in numerals, followed by a dot (example “14. Jh”). They are never spelled out as we do in English, like the words “fourteen” or “fourteenth”.

Handwritten number 1′s can look like an inverted v possibly dotted as a letter “i” would be, so they can be very confusing on some handwritten records if you don’t know what you are looking at.

Tutorial: Making a Medallion

Start with the How-To do bead Embroidery tutorial… then use this tutorial to progress to to medallions



Tutorial: Machine Washable Beadwork

A non-period method for a period-looking result and modern staying power.

First, this is really easy, whenever I teach folks they go “That’s it? That’s easy!”.

It really is simple, you won’t believe it. My students come back going! "WOW! everyone thinks I’m like a god now!" Really. Once you do it a few times, you’re hooked because it progresses faster than regular embroidery.

Yes, as far as my embroidery goes, everything is couched within an inch of it’s life. No escape, no surrender.

Period method was to string all the beads on at once and then one by one couch them in place with a second thread. It’s hard cumbersome and not durable, if a thread broke you could loose whole lines.

I have developed a method that is in looks Identical to period couching but is… gasp… machine washable and sturdy as a elephant and even can be worn in yes… battle.

* First USE good heavy cloth, broad cloth weight weave will pull apart and believe it or not, the weave will form holes and beads will flip around to the backside if you aren’t careful. I’ve done this, trust me, use cloth up to the task.

* I recommend you do pieces Oxford, light canvas, or even trigger type materials. They have a dense heavy weave. Basically if you can read a license plate through it it’s too light. If you are doing accent pieces for light garb recommend you appliqué it on, hey it’s period! And if the garment wears out, you simply remove it and apply to something else.

* If you want fabric showing around and IN your design but one that isn’t capable of handling it, or want added protection, BACK the material with trigger or somesuch. More is never a bad thing.