On Wednesday 10th May I spent a day with Susan Rhodes at her workshop in Wivenhoe, Essex exploring Glazig embroidery. I had previously met Susan though EHA (Essex Handicraft Association) where she had come to talk to us about Glazig and Sorbello embroidery and I had completed a small piece of Glazig embroidery but wanted to explore it further. Susan very kindly let me join her group of embroiders for the day where she talked about the history of this embroidery and we spent most of the day making a sampler of the different types of stitches used to create this colourful embroidery.
Glazig comes from the Breton region of France from the 19th century and was used to decorate the traditional clothing worn for family occasions. Each area within Brittany developed their own style which would identify where in Brittany the wearer was from.
Traditionally Glazig embroidery is worked in bands in bright colours with a limited range of stitches. When you work the stitches correctly you notice that they are economic on the wrong side of the fabric so making the most of the thread on the decorative side. The threads traditionally used are silk on a red or dark background on a woollen base fabric. The motifs used are stylised floral, geometric shapes and folk art.
For our sampler we have used Cotton Perle no 8 on a piece of red polyester satin ribbon with a black woollen mix backing fabric. We also used a product called ‘Multifuse’, a very fine fusible mesh similar to lightweight interfacing to fix the ribbon to the backing fabric. This fusible mesh is not readily available in the UK, I understand that it is an American product. It gives the ribbon stability and prevents it puckering up, and you can see the difference between my two samples, in the first sample I didn’t use an interfacing and it has slightly puckered.
Stitches from top left: Point Laouig (yellow/red), Double chain stitch (blue) with whip stitch (red), Point Echelle (green) with whip stitch (red) and running stitch and chain stitch (yellow), Point Kamm (multi-coloured), Point de reprise (red/white), Point Feston (yellow).
There are lots of examples of Glazig style embroidery on Pinterest, in particular the new, modern approach to this and many other traditional embroidery styles.
I have used traditional motifs in my design alongside a more contemporary colour scheme and traditional stitches, worked on a soft cotton ground fabric which is tacked to a calico backing. I don’t use a hoop or frame, I quite enjoy the freedom of stitching without one.