Last year I have launched Early Medieval Embroidery, a business through which I give lectures, run workshops and sell my kits. This year I have just launched a dedicated online shop where I sell my kits and, in the near future, other embroidery related items, including online workshops. You can find the shop here: https://early-medieval-embroidery.square.site/. All the kits 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’ve continued in my part time role as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate 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.
I’ve had a couple of new publications come out recently as well. The first is a chapter in a book dedicated to one of my academic friends Dr Elizabeth Coatsworth. In this, I wrote a technical analysis and biography of two embroidery fragments from Durham, ‘The Embroidered Fragments from the Tomb of Bishop William of St Calais, Durham: An Analysis and Biography’. The second chapter focuses on how the Bayeux Tapestry fits into the idea of cultural transfer within the Norman World, ‘The Bayeux Tapestry as an Artefact of Cultural Transfer (see publications for both). I am now in the process of researching and writing a number of articles about my St Cuthbert Maniple recreation project, the Bayeux Tapestry and early medieval embroidery and the senses. Work on the embroidery book of six practical projects has slowed but I’m hoping to get back to this in the near. 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). 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 Gale and I are working on final edits and I’m writing the Introduction.
The French documentary Les Mystères de la Tapisserie de Bayeux, in which I appeared, premiered in Bayeux in early December 2021 and was shown on Sur France 5 on 9th December. It was then shown on BBC4 on 22nd March 2022. 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 2023 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 webshop) and I will be running workshops (Look out for these on Instagram, Twitter and the homepage).
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, The Lost Art of the Anglo-Saxon World: the sacred and secular power of embroidery, 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.
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.
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).