The week before last I received the results of my RSN Certificate Goldwork project: I got 84%!!! I am really happy with this mark, especially since I completed this project as a summer intensive and I already knew I was going to lose marks for some bits (paint lines, corners).

In this post, I will share my marks, the remarks of the assessors (italics in pink), and my reflection on them. As my project is still at Hampton Court Palace I am not able to share new and more detailed photographs of my project but I will share some zooms of the original pictures. Please find details about the assessment process in my post about the results of my silk shading project


First Impressions

  • The fabric is clean and there are no wax marks or alien fibres on the fabric (5/5)
  • Design marks have been covered/tacking lines have been removed and are not visible (3/5)
  • The couching thread condition is consistently of good quality and does not appear worn (5/5)
  • Starting and finishing stitches are not visible (5/5)

“The fabric is clean with no wax marks visible. Although you mention the paint lines under the rococco there are also paint lines visible under the twist and along the left hand side of the padded Japanese on the bottom left. The couching thread condition is consistently of good quality and there are no starting and finishing stitches visible. Well done.”

Well, I couldn’t happier with these marks. I knew I was going to have to take a hit on the paintlines and they could have marked me down much more than they have. It was a huge lesson learned that you don’t need to paint on all the lines but you can either dot them on or use tacking lines. I just wish I had known that when I painted on my design! However, with this happening, I am sure to remember it for any future projects!


  • The design is appropriate for goldwork techniques (4/5)
  • The gold threads have been laid in a way which enhances the directional flow of the design (4/5)
  • The gold threads have been used to create appropriate texture and light play throughout (3/5)
  • The design is well balanced with both solid and open areas (5/5)
  • The image has been placed squarely on the grain and the background fabric is appropriate to the technique
  • Have the proportions of shapes been maintained and consistent with the source image (4/5)

“Although the majority of the design is suitable for goldwork there are a few areas that are not as successful as they could be. For instance the single twist line either side of the central motif would have benefited from being stronger had a rococco been worked with it the line would have been bolder. The rococco lines would also have been enhanced if some twist had been worked alongside some of the rows creating more of a continuous flow. The light play of the piece could have been enhanced with a wider use of combination threads overall, the combination section that has been worked is actually quite blocked, had the metal been worked together more a true combination would have been created. Overall the proportions of the shapes have been well maintained, just take care with the chipwork as these sections can grow during the stitching process. The image has been placed squarely on the grain, the background is appropriate to the design which has been well balanced with solid and open areas.”

I can definitely see where the assessors comments come from. However, I can’t really see how I could have implemented all of their suggested changes. I agree that the twist line should have been bolder but I don’t think I would have liked to have added twist to the rococco vines as I think that would have looked messier as they wouldn’t have sat nicely together. I really liked the ‘frilly’ aspect of the rococco to resemble vines. The combination in the centre is blocky but I am really happy with the fact that the tutor suggested to stitch it this way as I wouldn’t have been able to neatly fit an alternating combination in this shape at all. I would have liked to have combination couching in other areas too but the brief restricted which techniques I could use especially since I wanted to create an illusion of symmetry in my project. All in all, quite a few bits to have a think about for my next metalwork project.


  • The felt is securely, evenly applied and at an appropriate height (10/10)
  • The soft string is tapered smoothly and is an appropriate height for the area (6/10)
  • The soft string is secure, firm and even throughout (8/10)

“The soft string is a good height for the areas however the tapering at either end has been lost with the top section appearing to be quite bumpy. Take care when trimming string away to cut from the underside of the bunch and it can be beneficial to trimming away a little earlier than expected as this helps to create a gradual, more even taper. The string has been stitched firmly throughout, The felt has been well applied with a good shape being created.”

It was the first time doing string padding so I really need to take the comments of the assessors on board. I did cut away from the bottom so it must be that I started the tapering too late and need to start cutting the string earlier. I wasn’t really sure how it would fall so that is something I can definitely work on.

Couching, plunging and pearl purl

  • The stitches are evenly tensioned and at 90 degrees to the gold (8/10)
  • The corners, turns and points are neat, executed correctly and appropriately to the design with no core exposed (6/10)
  • The threads have been couched and plunged correctly with a good twist so no core has been exposed (8/10)
  • Stitches are in a brick pattern unless necessary to deviate (such as the centre of a solid worked area), appropriately and consistently spaced (810/10)
  • The rows do not overlap but lay evenly in parallel rows with no core, fabric or felt exposed (6/10)
  • The pearl purl has been pulled evenly and not overstretched (10/10)
  • The pearl purl has been stitched down invisible without kinks (10/10)
  • The cutting and joins of the pearl purl are neat and invisibly stitched (8/10)

“Overall the stitches are at 90 degrees to the gold. Improvement can be seen with the tension of the stitches, particularly when working on felt with Japanese thread, to keep the tension even as any over tight stitches can distort the light play over the gold. Unfortunately, many of the corners require further stitches to hold them down, this will help to prevent the core being exposed. Also take care not to damage the gold once the turn is in place, trying to force it into place when there is not sufficient room will distort the metal covering over the core. The stitches are in a brick pattern for the most part however take care to prevent overlapping and keep all threads parallel this will help when plunging. It is also standard practice to place the outside plunge point higher than the inside plunge point to ensure shapes are maintained. The cutting and the joins of the pearl purl are good for the most part but take care to place a stitch at the very last indent to ensure the ends are held securely. The pearl purl has been pulled evenly and not overstretched and this has been stitched will to prevent kinks occurring.”


Even though I did lose a few marks in this section, I am amazed by the marks I did get. I had given myself a really difficult job in couching the crescent shapes as I found it near impossible to turn the jap 180 degrees to try and fit it in the increasingly smaller space. I think I would have been much harsher on myself if I had to mark my own work. So I am very happy with the marks and the experience and the comments will definitely help me for my next pieces. I do wish they had remarked on the overstretched pearl purl though. I know it is not part of the brief but I would really have liked to know what they thought of it.

Chipping and Cutwork

  • The chips are uniform in size, square, small cleanly cut and undamaged (6/10)
  • The chips are flat on the fabric/felt surface with varying angles and no overlapping. The chips fill the space with no felt showing (10/10)
  • The cutwork touches the fabric on either side of the soft string or fills the area if laid flat. There are no gaps exposing the fabric or soft string (8/10)
  • The cutwork hugs and fully covers the soft string padding solidly and is at an appropriate angle for the design (8/10)
  • There is a minimum continuous length of 5 cms of smooth purl in which there should be no more than 8 cracks (10/10)

“The chips are uniform and square and it is good to see the different sizes of check in use here. Just take care to cut the chips cleanly as there are a few tags standing proud of the surface. The chips lay flat with a good varying angle and no overlapping. The cutwork on the whole has been understood, take care to cut each purl of a sufficient length to prevent stitches being visible. The top section shows many stitches but there is improvement to the bottom section. There is a good angle through the main body of the cutwork but there is a little overlapping of the purls at the ends where the angle changes. You have done well to minimise the number of cracks visible. Well done.”

I think of the all of the marks I am at the happiest with these. I had never for a minute thought I would get these kinds of marks for my chipping and cutwork. Cutwork scared me so much (as I am quite clumsy and I was so worried about damaging it). I also worried about keeping the 45-degree angle but after the tutor’s brilliant explanation on how to keep the correct angle it made so much more sense to me. So glad the assessors liked my efforts as I was so pleased with it too, as the cutwork went in so much quicker than anticipated. Also, the marks for my chipwork surprised me as it is really difficult to see whether there is any bare felt showing in between all of the sparkles. So surprised there is none! I also really liked that they picked up on the different size in chips I used as it makes the centre area different from the other two.



  • The board has been cut with 90-degree corners and straight edges (5/5)
  • The design is placed straight on the board with a suitable area allowed at all edges; the fabric grain is straight to the edges of the board (5/5)
  • Wadding has been evenly distributed on the card (4/5)
  • The fabric is pulled tautly across the board to remove creases, bubbles and puckering (5/5)
  • The board is not significantly bowed due to over tensioning the fabric (5/5)
  • No pinpricks are visible around the edge of the board (4/5)


  • The corners of the fabric have been folded neatly and are square and flat (3/5)
  • The sateen is on the grain, taut and clean with square corners and an even rebate (4/5)
  • The slip stitches are consistently of even size with no slip stitches or pinpricks visible (4/5)


“The board has been well cut with 90-degree corners and straight edges. The design has been placed with a good rebate and the grain runs parallel to the edges of the board. The wadding has created a hard ridge along the bottom edge, take care to manipulate the bumpf to the very edge during mounting, it can be stretched if necessary. Take care to remove all pinpricks from around the edge of the board before handing in, this can be done with a mellor or large tapestry needle. On the reverse the corners of the silk are rather rounded with many stitches visible, pulling stitches together more tightly will help to hide the stitches. The sateen is clean and tight but take care to keep the rebate even and the corners square. The slip stitches are a little uneven but are a good length and are tightly worked. You have done well to tension the fabric and removing all of the bubbles on the front without bowing the board. Well done. “

Mounting marks are an improvement on the last time!!! I had huge problems trying to close the corners. I like the suggestion that I had to pull them tighter to hide them. I definitely tried but I just couldn’t pull them any tighter. I was surprised how well the mounting went for this project especially since getting the silk straight for my silk shading took absolutely forever. I love the look the bumpf creates but I will watch out for it next time to make sure it goes around all four sides evenly.


In total, I got 214 out of a possible 255, which works out at 84%.

“Overall this is an interesting piece of goldwork that shows an understanding laying the metals to enhance the directional flow of the design. Well done.”

I am really happy with my marks. I have learned so much stitching this, not only technique wise but also about design, preparation and mounting. I would like to thank the tutor on the summer intensive course (Sara-Jane) for all of your tips, tricks, ideas and encouragement. You have helped me so much towards achieving this result. I am really happy with the comments of the assessors as they will help me to built upon what I have achieved so far and do even better next time.

This was my last certificate project and I will be able to graduate from the certificate course in July next year with an average mark of about 87%. Extremely happy with this result and I have really enjoyed doing the certificate. Can’t wait to be back at Hampton Court next month to start the diploma!


Posted by:Marlous

10 replies on “My RSN Certificate Goldwork has been assessed

  1. Congratulations! Some great feedback and constructive criticism that you can choose to take on board or put into the ‘personal preference’ pile.
    Well done on your marks, and completing your Certificate! I look forward to what you create for the Diploma.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Catherine!!! Yes as lot of good feedback that will really help me with future pieces. Can’t wait to start the diploma and learn and create even more. Have some really great ideas for my blackwork and stumpwork pieces already!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done Marlous!!! So glad you’re happy with your marks and learned so much from this project. The Mounting process is especially interesting to me, as I’ve never tried it and it seems so difficult! Congratulations on acing your Certificate, and I look forward to following along as you do the courses for your Diploma 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Aurelia!!! Mounting is difficult to get 100% right. The steps are easy but there are so many stages and bits to watch out for that it is hard to get it completely right. I am sure it is an experience thing too though as I am getting quicker and better. Thank you for following!


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