About Me

Present:

Over the last year I have launched Early Medieval Embroidery, a business through which I give lectures, run workshops and sell my kits, the first which I introduced in December 2021 (see the Kits page). These kits all use authentic materials and needles in order to give the embroiderer the opportunity of experiencing, in a small way, how early medieval embroiderers worked. Each kit is based on as aspect of early medieval embroidery / design and includes full instructions and materials.

My YouTube channel, also called Early Medieval Embroidery, continues to grow; you can access here: https://www.youtube.com/c/EarlyMedievalEmbroidery. Here I post videos about different aspects of early medieval embroidery and my research. I also continue to collaborate with others, posting their monthly contributions to the Early Medieval (mostly) Textiles Blog (see homepage).

In other big news, I started a part time role as a Post-Doctoral Researcher on the AHRC funded ‘Unwrapping the Galloway Hoard’ project, which is jointly run by the National Museum of Scotland and the University of Glasgow. I am employed by the Archaeology Department at the University of Glasgow where I am analysing and writing up the wider stories of the textiles and leather.

As you may know, The Lost Art of the Anglo-Saxon World: the sacred and secular power of embroidery was published in 2019 and my article, ‘Embroidery and its early medieval audience: a case study of sensory engagement’ was published in World Archaeology in 2021 (see publications). I am now in the process of writing an article about the transmission of design ideas between early medieval metalwork and embroidery. This should be published in 2022. I also continue to work on an embroidery book of six practical projects ranging from beginner to expert, that readers will be able to make. Each project uses authentic materials, stitches and design elements from the early medieval period. It should also be published in 2022, and when it is I also plan to offer material packs for each of the projects. Keep an eye on Instagram (alexandramakin2) and Twitter (@alexandra_makin) for updates on all publications and projects.

I am still analysing the results of the St Cuthbert maniple section (see Instagram: @alexandramakin2).  I plan to write up the project in a journal article, which I hope will be published in 2023.  Followers can follow progress of the analysis through Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

In between these projects I am editing a book with Prof. Gale Owen-Crocker. The volume is based on the well received session I organised and ran at the IONA conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 2019. At the moment contributors are working hard on their chapters and Gale and I are editing those that are complete.

Exciting news, I was filmed for a French documentary about the Bayeux Tapestry. Les Mystères de la Tapisserie de Bayeux premiered in Bayeux in early December 2021 and was shown on Sur France 5 on 9th December. I continue to consult / advise on a number of textile and embroidery projects and I have taught a number of day workshops to different groups.

During 2022 I will be giving papers at conferences in Europe. I am also giving lectures and presentations to a number of academic and special interest groups in the UK and America. I plan to add more kits to the Early Medieval Embroidery range (keep an eye on the Kits page) and will be running workshops (Look out for these on Instagram, Twitter and the homepage).

Background:

I am a textile archaeologist specialising in early medieval embroidery. A professional embroiderer with a background in Archaeology and textiles, I originally trained at the Royal School of Needlework, Hampton Court Palace, on their three year embroidery apprenticeship. I am also a qualified teacher with 10 years experience, 9 of which include being Head of a Design Technology Department. My academic background includes a BA Honours degree in Archaeology from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and a PhD in Anglo-Saxon Studies (University of Manchester).

My PhD Research, titled ‘Embroidery and its context in the British Isles and Ireland during the early medieval period (AD 450-1100)’, has led to me being interviewed on various news and TV programs and in newspapers.

I have published my first monograph, a number of papers in edited volumes and journals, and articles in popular magazines. I have also given lectures and run workshops on different aspects of embroidery, its history and its wider context to special interest groups and the general public.

Research Interests:

My areas of research focus on early medieval material culture, mainly embroidery, but other aspects too. I am particularly fascinated by how material culture entwined with and influenced early medieval life.

I am interested in experimental archaeology and collaborative working methods, and how these can inform our understanding of the objects we find, and data we gather from documentary and visual sources. Such approaches are also important in helping us understand working methods and organisation, and their development during the early medieval period.

I have a special interest in the Bayeux Tapestry which has led to the uncovering of new facts about its embroidering. This research has led to me being interviewed and featured in local and national newspapers both in the UK and Normandy. I have also been interviewed for TV and radio in the UK, Canada and France.

Groups:

I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

I am also a member of the European Association for Archaeologists, the Royal Archaeological Society, the Society for Medieval Archaeology, CIETA (Centre International d’etude des Textiles Aciens), EuroWeb, ISSEME (The International Society for the Study of Early Medieval England), EXARC (Experimental Archaeology Group), Archaeological Leather Group, Finds Research Group, ETSG (The Early Textiles Study Group), and MEDATS (Medieval Dress and Textiles Society).

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