Disappearing Designers: Leon Conrad – Blackwork

One of the patterns I collected when I was stitching in the 90s was a blackwork chess pattern by Leon Conrad called Queen Besse’s Chess Boarde.  Blackwork is a form of embroidery that historically used black thread to create designs that were visible on both sides.  Here is the wikipedia page about blackwork: Blackwork Embroidery.  It dates back to the time of Henry VIII and was often a decorative element to clothing.

After my long hiatus, I was curious about what happened to Leon Conrad’s designs.  I found a number of them still available, but I have not found any online traces of the designer aside from his wikipedia page: Leon Conrad.  Most of the links on that wikipedia page are dead.

I did like his use of gold mixed with the black silk threads and of all the blackwork chessboard designs I have seen, I think his is the most elegant.  Many people also use some of the variegated threads or over dyed threads (although a lot of the over dyed and specialty thread manufacturers are also kaput) today when doing blackwork.

Another designer for the Disappearing Designers blog list.

Here is a small gallery of some of the designs I have been able to find online:

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