Tanya Bentham is an expert in the style of hand embroidery known as ‘Opus Anglicanum’. It is a style of embroidery that was prevalent in the 13th & 14th centuries in England. Very specific stitches are used in a specific way with specific materials and style.
Tanya shares her fascinating story of how she got started in embroidery and how the obsession with Opus Anglicanum started.
It may sound dull that Tanya takes her inspiration from Medieval manuscripts. Far from it! Those manuscripts contain hilarious situations and crazy characters and this was an area that I wanted to dig down into with Tanya.
There is a lot of humour in her work. She also loves to take old images and put a modern twist on them, but still using relevant imagery and sticking strictly to the style and methods of the era.
Tanya has brought all that knowledge and experience together and her first book is just about to be published… exciting times!
Susan Weeks chats with Tanya about:
- What is Opus Anglicanum?
- The main stitches used and the specific thread.
- Her twist of ‘The 3 living & the 3 dead’
- How to create a face in Opus Anglicanum
- Historical re-enactment
- Writing her book
- Knitting in the dark!
- Finding it difficult to start things and preferring longer bigger projects
- Where do all the crazy characters and silly scenes come from?
- Just how nerdy is nerdy?
- Medieval simplicity vs Jacobean crewelwork exuberance
- Learning which rules you can break so it is still ‘Medieval’
- What to wear when you are a proper artist
- A fab excuse for not finishing a piece of embroidery….
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Other links and things we talked about:
The Luttrell Psalter
The Syon Cope
Asterix & Obelix
Les Dawson – wonky piano playing