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Chalice Veil Design from Althea Wiel

The use of symbolism in Ecclesiastical Embroidery Designs has a long and rich history. It goes back to the first books of the Bible and the instructions given to Moses and Aaron with regards to the making of Priestly Clothing.  The skill of a good designer shines forth when they are able to incorporate meaningful symbols within a beautiful design.   A little while ago, I wrote about Alethea Wiel, a skilled Ecclesiastical Artisan and Designer here  Weekend Reading and Musing  and here New Books New Information

Stepping back in time-120 years ago-to the year 1894, the author, in the introduction to her book “Designs for Church Embroidery”  states she never intended to publish her work. She felt it was incomplete and merely a suggestion of outlines and hints for church embroidery. It was only upon the advice of friends that she decided to publish her work for Church Embroidery.  A publication of the day said of her work, “There was some really very fine original embroidery designs and lent by A.R….”

Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design for Chalice Veil
Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design for Chalice Veil

The Chalice in design is standing on seven rocks which represent the Seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. If one looks closely, then they will see the Nativity is engraved on the Chalice.  Christ appears to be rising from the Chalice as the Blessed Sacrament. Angels with incense adorn either side of Christ, are Luke and John and their emblems under a canopy of vines, leaves and grapes.

Eccleisastical Embroidery Design for Chalice Veil
Opposite Side of Wiel Chalice Veil Design

Now, turning the design around, the Crucifixion is represented with two angles turning away from Christ, trying with their wings to screen from their sight His suffering. Matthew and Mark are in these corners with their emblems. The vine is the emblem of Christ.

Great skill and knowledge-as well as attention to detail-were needed by the designer when creating this work of art.  The piece is beautifully balanced,  with flow and movement from the composition and directing the gaze of the viewer to the different parts of the Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design.  One has to remember how this flat two-dimensional piece would be intended for viewing: draped over the Chalice. The concept of using two distinct images of Christ to be alternated based on the season of the Church Year is brilliant.

This would be a stunning piece to see embroidered!

Solo Dei Gloria

Be sure to visit our online store front Ecclesiastical Sewing where you may shop for Liturgical Fabrics, altar linen fabrics, church vestment making patterns, liturgical machine embroidery designschurch vestment trims and notions and so much more. You may also find us on  Ecclesiastical Sewing  on Facebook , Twitter, and Pinterest. Sing up for our mailing list  at the bottom of the page on our online store front and receive a free copy of our Small Linens Booklet as our way of saying thank you for following along.


Filed under: Ecclesiastical Embroidery, Ecclesiastical Sewing Tagged: Alethea Wiel, Chalice veil, Church Year, Designs for Church Emboridery, Ecclesiastical Embroidery, Ecclesiastical Embroidery Designs, Ecclesiastical Embroidery Patterns, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Seven Sacraments
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