I applied Laid Work to the images from Las Cantigas de Santa Maria. This embroidery technique was used in the eleventh century art piece known as The Bayeux Tapestry. It isn’t really a tapestry as it isn’t woven. It is actually embroidered work by several workers, who created the images to show the story of the Battle of Hastings of 1066. When looking at the Laid Work from the Bayeux, it is clear that the artists were in a big hurry, as their stitches are wide and not even. Some scholars say that the tapestry was commissioned or ordered by William the Conqueror or his brother, Bishop Odo.
The Laid stitch is simply a satin stitch with spaced-out threads laid vertically to the satin stitch, and couched down. This gives a rippling effect over the entire image. It also strengthens the area, so in many cases in this time period, this stitch was also used to develop patches. These beautiful patches would be applied to clothing, outlive the clothing, and be removed and reattached to new cloths. My stitches are significantly more even and tight than those found in the Bayeux Tapestry as I didn’t have a king demanding that my work be turned out by a certain deadline.
I displayed the embroidered patches from the Cantigas in an exhibit in the Norlin Library at the University of Colorado-Boulder. The comments were quite encouraging, as the campus community shared their amazement of the images from such an old piece of history, as well as the beautiful embroidered stitches that allowed them to be hung in a display. The comments also related their desire to see more art work from our history, and enjoyed knowing how these artistic skills can be learned and the local organizations and guilds that are around to provide assistance in learning them.