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Or Nué (goldwork)

​Or Nué is a goldwork technique that involved couching metal threads with different coloured threads to create patterns and designs of your choice. This creates the effect of having a design on a gold background.

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Or Nué (goldwork) method stage 1 photograph

Draw your design on to fabric and choose your thread colours. Thread two needles - one with a self-coloured thread and one with a contrasting thread. If using more than one contrasting colour, start with the first one you will be using in the design.

Or Nué (goldwork) method stage 2 photograph

Starting from the top of the design and working downwards, cut a length of Japanese gold that is about twice the width of your design plus 8cm, fold in half and lay it across the top of the design with the loop level with the left-hand side.

Or Nué (goldwork) method stage 3 photograph

Secure the loop with a stitch in the self-coloured thread. Continue to couch down the two threads, changing to the coloured thread where required.

Or Nué (goldwork) method stage 4 photograph

Start the next piece of metal thread at the opposite end to where you started on the first row. Start the thread in the same way, ensuring that the gold will sit close to the previous row with no visible gaps.

Or Nué (goldwork) method stage 5 photograph

Work your way along the gold as before, placing couching stitches in self-coloured thread where you wish the stitches to be invisible, and changing to the coloured thread and working close stitches where colour is required.

Or Nué (goldwork) method stage 6 photograph

As you progress back and forth across the design, introduce more contrasting colours as demanded by the design. Work the coloured stitches close together for solid areas of colour and space them out for a more subtle effect.

Or Nué (goldwork) method stage 7 photograph

The completed design before ends are plunged.

Or Nué (goldwork) method stage 8 photograph

The completed design with ends plunged.

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques

Identifying Or Nué (goldwork)

​Or Nué can be identified by the use of coloured threads used to create a design against a couched gold thread background.


  • Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.249

Examples of Or Nué (goldwork) from the RSN Collection