Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Burse-making day at the RSN

The Guild of St Clare held an exclusive burse-making day at the Royal School of Needlework last Saturday, tutored by Heather Lewis. The lesson took place in the RSN's teaching apartments at Hampton Court Palace.

Heather Lewis, the RSN ecclesiastical specialist, led the course

Burse-making is tricky because it combines cutting and sewing skills with mounting. For many of the people attending it was their first experience of mounting fabric on to board; by the end of the day we'd all mastered the essentials.

The damask is pinned to the mount board before being laced on the back
I'm very grateful to Heather for putting this course together especially for us. This particular skill is rare but essential for anyone wanting to make a traditional set of vestments.

One of the highlights of the day was making cord by hand to stitch to the edge of the burse

The Guild of St Clare is often asked to make stoles, maniples, chalice veils and burses to make up incomplete sets - I'm delighted that we are slowly acquiring the expertise we need to do this to a high standard.

Antonia lacing her damask on mount board
Heather showed us the beautiful half-size burse
she uses to teach burse-making to the RSN's
full-time students
Following the success of the occasion I plan to organise a stole-making workshop next year. It will be splendid to see the gradual building of vestment-making skills among the dedicated people who attend our retreats and vestment-mending days, and I hope to see as good an attendance as we had last Saturday.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Vestment Mending Days in London for 2020


We have confirmed dates for Vestment Mending in London for the first half of 2020, in St James' Spanish Place.

All are welcome! See more about these days here. Email the Guild to register your interest: lucyashaw@gmail.com

January 25th

March 14th

May 9th

These will take place at:

St James's Roman Catholic Church
22 George Street
London W1U 3QY (click for a map)

Friday, 29 November 2019

Burse-making course at Royal School of Needlework: exclusive to the Guild of St Clare

Burse-making at the RSN with Heather Lewis

The Guild of St Clare is collaborating with the Royal School of Needlework to provide a special one day course in burse-making. This is a unique opportunity to learn the skills necessary to make one of the more tricky pieces of the traditional vestment set. The tuition will be provided by RSN tutor Heather Lewis, who led our previous Guild of St Clare course in ecclesiastical goldwork, back in 2012. The course will take place at Hampton Court Palace in the RSN's teaching apartments, and is subsidised by the Guild of St Clare.

The date is the 8th February 2020, and the course will run between 10am and 4pm. Tea and coffee are provided; you will need to bring a packed lunch, or you can visit one of Hampton Court Palace's cafes. The cost, including the materials and the special Guild of St Clare discount, is £105.

For more information please email Lucy on lucyashaw@gmail.com, or book through the registration link on the LMS website.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Sewing Retreat at Douai Abbey

Against a liturgical backdrop of the Feast of All Saints and the Feast of All Souls, the Guild of St Clare held its fifth Sewing Retreat at Douai Abbey.

Fr John Hunwicke led the retreat as chaplain and gave us some perceptive and stimulating spiritual conferences on St John Henry Newman. The Douai Guestmaster, Fr Oliver Holt, very kindly gave us a tour of the Douai archives which include some beautiful eighteenth century vestments, made by nuns from the convent at Lanherne.

They are in remarkably good condition and it was a privilege to be able to see them.

 Work undertaken included making several faldstool covers, a commission for the Latin Mass Society, as well as repairs to chasubles and an embroidered stole.

We are delighted to have found such a comfortable and welcoming venue at Douai Abbey and look forward to returning there in February next year.


Friday, 20 September 2019

Cardinal Burke in London

It was an honour to be asked to make a faldstool cover for Cardinal Burke's visit to London in September. Here he is, pictured celebrating Mass from the faldstool with its new Guild of St Clare cover. Thanks to John Aron for the photographs.




Monday, 16 September 2019

Faldstool cover for Cardinal Burke's visit to London

Our most recent commission, from the Latin Mass Society, is a gift of a set of faldstool covers in four liturgical colours for the parish of Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane. This, the red one, is the first to be completed; it is needed immediately for the Pontifical Low Mass to be celebrated by Cardinal Burke on 16th September.

The Guild was given a white faldstool cover, made by Serpone in Rome, to copy. The original used mainly machine techniques, so we adapted the design and made a hand-stitched version.

We added velvet piping to the cushion; the sumptuous effect is well worth the time it took to put in

The fabric is Winchester brocade, supplied by Watts & Co., and the braid has an oak leaf design and comes from M. Perkins.

It will be an honour to see this in use for Cardinal Burke's visit.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Winner of Guild of St Clare sponsorship to the RSN

The Guild of St Clare is delighted to announce its first ever appointment to our new Royal School of Needlework sponsorship scheme. 

James Sharpe is specialist social worker in Hackney who converted to Catholicism four years ago. He has been a student of the arts since childhood, and studied archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge.

James's Celtic knot work design,
undertaken  at the Prince's School of Traditional Art


He is interested in many traditional crafts including iconography, calligraphy, illumination, geometry and printing and has dedicated a great deal of time to learning about them.

Sarah Homfray's William Morris inspired design,
stitched by James
under Sarah's long-distance tuition scheme

 More recently he has developed an interest in embroidery, especially medieval church embroidery; studying for the RSN Certificate course will enable him to pursue this skill to a professional level. We very much look forward to having the benefit of James's interests and expertise at future Guild of St Clare events, and wish him well as he begins his studies in October.