Textiles stole my heart as soon as I walked into an open house event at the textile studio of the Hogeschool Antwerpen. Four years later, I walked out with a degree in Textile Conservation & Restoration in hand.
In the rich textile history of the pieces I’ve since restored and conserved, embroidery is a common thread. Or rather a gold thread, in my case, as it’s the technique of gold embroidery that piqued my interest in embroidery. I initially focused on it because I often saw it on the nineteenth century banners and church vestments that I restored.
Contemporary embroidery with traditional techniques
In embroidery, I love to indulge – especially by using a combination of techniques and materials. I create my own designs and make haute couture embroidery commissioned by designers.
Up until after World War I, embroidery was considered part of the textile industry. Especially in Flanders, where I grew up, you didn’t see haute couture or ecclesiastical textiles without an embroidered finish. That all changed with World War II. Embroidery studios permanently closed their doors, this beautiful craft in danger of being lost forever. I am thrilled to be a part of its revival.
Worldwide embroidery workshops
Over the years, I’ve learned a variety of embroidery techniques. My specializations are Aari work, gold embroidery and broderie d’art. I’ve also mastered the Luneville method, whitework embroidery, needlelace, shadow work and Kutch embroidery. Combined with textures such as beads, sequins, purl, raffia, or perhaps something else? Gladly!
I learned all these techniques in my homeland of Flanders (Belgium) where there’s an illustrious textile history, as well as at the renowned Royal School of Needlework and the London Embroidery School in the UK and the Scuola di Ricamo Alta Moda in Italy. For Aari and Kutch embroidery, I went to India (Gujarat) where the art of embroidery is alive and well to this day and is still passed down from generation to generation.
And that is precisely what I aim for with the embroidery lessons and workshops that I teach: to pass on the valuable embroidery tradition to the next generation.