Artistic Wool Cutting for Tapestry: Mastering the Russian Stitch

Hello, I am Mauro Frazão, a textile artist passionate about contemporary tapestry. My journey began informally, as a hobby to unwind. However, this passion quickly blossomed into an artistic career, leading me to receive international recognition. Today, I am here to share with you the technique I consider the heart of artistic tapestry: the Russian stitch and its variations.

Artistic wool cut for tapestries, Mauro Frazão
Artistic wool cut for tapestries, Mauro Frazão

Preparing the Material
First of all, let's prepare our material. You will need a primary fabric stretched on a hoop, an adjustable Russian stitch needle, a simple tapestry needle, and scissors. The first step is "threading the needle," that is, threading the wool through it, a crucial step to ensure the smooth flow of work.

The Work's Foundation
The primary fabric on the hoop serves as the canvas for our art. It is important to know how to properly hold the hoop and the needle. The needle should be kept at a 90-degree angle and always in the same direction, to ensure uniformity and precision in the stitches.

The Russian Stitch
The Russian stitch, in its essence, is always the same. However, its appearance can vary significantly depending on how the needle is adjusted. We can create low, medium, or high stitches simply by adjusting the needle. This variation allows us to bring life and texture to our work, filling the predetermined spaces in the design with different heights, densities, and cutting finishes.

Varying the Height of the Stitches
When you want to move from a low to a medium stitch, for example, it may be necessary to cut the thread or adjust the needle. These are important considerations that not only affect the aesthetics of the piece but also its texture. If the height of the stitch is wrong, it is essential to know how to correct it, maintaining the quality and beauty of the work.

Advanced Techniques
Beyond the traditional way of making the Russian stitch, there is another technique that involves pulling the thread on the backside. This can add an additional dimension to the work, creating unique visual and tactile effects. By mastering these techniques, you can experiment and develop your own style within tapestry.

Practice and Experimentation
Practice involves using these techniques to bring the chosen design to life, differentiating areas through cuts, types of stitches, and finishes. This approach not only visually enriches the work but also makes it unique, using natural fiber to create varied and deep textures.

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Tapestry is an art form that allows for endless expression through wool and other materials. I encourage all of you to experiment, practice, and of course, allow yourselves to make mistakes, as this is how we grow as artists.

If you are interested in this technique and wish to deepen your knowledge, I invite you to check out my course on Domestika about Artistic Wool Cutting for Tapestries. Together, we will explore not only the Russian stitch and its variations but also other techniques and approaches that will make you a complete textile artist. Come discover the unlimited potential of tapestry!

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