Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Ordinands 2021

2021 is still a long way off, but if you are interested in commissioning vestments with the Saint Bede Studio for your Ordination in that year, NOW is the time to contact us to begin discussions.

Every year - regretfully - we have to refuse work from ordinands because they have left enquiries too late for us to fit into our over-crowded schedule.

Contact us now to avoid disappointment.  Please show this notice to ordinands who may be thinking of vestments.

Enquiries :

Friday, 17 January 2020

Bushfires in Australia

Australian bushfires
The fiery sun shrouded in the smoke of bushfires
as seen from the Saint Bede Studio
December 2019.
The season of Summer in Australia - since the documentation of weather commenced after white settlement on this continent in 1788 - has always been harsh and unforgiving.

Our climate has become more erratic in recent years, but we have always experienced prolonged and crippling droughts, all-consuming fires and unstoppable floods here in Australia.

Since the very beginning of this summer, large areas of Australia have been devastated by massive bushfires and, unfortunately, this is likely to continue.  This has as much to do with the unpreparedness of government as it has to do with extreme conditions.  Despite certain claims, arson has had very little to do with the fires recently experienced.  Meanwhile, Supporters and Deniers of the various theories of climate change continue to scream at each other.

The quiet suburb of Wallsend in the eastern coast provincial city of Newcastle is the location of the Saint Bede Studio.  Newcastle and its surrounds have not up to this time been affected by fires, but we have had very bad air-quality as a result of conflagrations elsewhere.  Thank you to all those who have written to enquire after our well-being.  

Please pray for all those affected by this devastation and for the Blessing of rain.

The quiet garden of the Saint Bede Studio

Climate change Australia

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Silver Vestments

For our first post of 2020, we are pleased to present a special Commission completed by The Saint Bede Studio during 2019 for a returning customer in Texas (USA).  This commission was for a Borromeon chasuble made from silver brocade and decorated in a grey / silver  theme.

This commission posed some difficulties for us in locating a metallic silver brocade which had sufficient suppleness.  After exploring many avenues, the Studio finally obtained a brocade made of silk with metallic threads.

The ornament was formed from a cotton jacquard in colours of silver and ivory.  This was outlined with a grey and silver braid to form the Roman TAU at the front and a column at the back.

The finished product was distinctive, elegant and lightweight.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Monday, 30 December 2019

Concerning fabrics for vestments

Admirers of Church vestments would be surprised to learn that the majority of ecclesiastical fabrics are either entirely or largely comprised  of man-made yarns, or "synthetics".  Fabrics of the highest quality, however, continue to be made from silk ... and these are very expensive.

Contrary to a common prejudice, not all synthetic fabrics are second-rate and unpleasant to wear.  Synthetic fabrics vary widely in quality.  Those who hold the view that a brocade fabric is always better than a plain fabric might be disappointed to learn that widely available ecclesiastical brocades from Europe (particularly Italy), India, the United States &c are not infrequently of indifferent quality.

At the Saint Bede Studio, we use a better quality of fabrics for all our work. A great deal of our time is spent searching for quality fabrics from various parts of the world.  We judge the fabrics we use to be suitable for vestment work not only by their appearance but on their stability and durability.

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

On this Holy Day

To all friends, customers and readers of this Blog, sincere wishes for a Blessed Christmas.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill be made low; the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places, plain; and the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
Isaiah 40:4-5.

Michael Sternbeck
The Saint Bede Studio
December 2019

Friday, 20 December 2019

Priestly Ordinations : 8

The Saint Bede StudioRecently, the Studio completed a commission for a newly-ordained priest of the Pontifical North American College, Rome.  Our customer chose to have a set of rose vestments made.

The vestments were made from dupion silk in a quite lovely shade of rose and fully lined in a taup-coloured taffeta.  The vestments were ornamented with a new braid now added to the Studio's unique offerings, called Saint Dunstan.  The braid is in colours of platinum, violet and white upon a crimson background.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : At this page.

Rose vestments

The Saint Bede Studio

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Jubilate Deo

Watch this short video about the education of the young in the Archdiocese of Sydney in the Chants of the Mass. The video features the Church of Saint Thomas Becket (Lewisham NSW), the interior of which was re-decorated under the direction of the Saint Bede Studio in 2017 as part of a greater restoration of the fabric.

 Please note that the vestments being worn are not made by the Saint Bede Studio.

Jubilate Deo - Sacred Music Program from New Ark Films on Vimeo.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

"Violaceus" in the choirdress of bishops

This painting by the 18th century Dutch artist Carle Van Loo, depicts Saint Augustine of Hippo disputing with the Donatists.  The painting is also of significance in its depiction of episcopal choirdress as it was on Continent in the middle of the 18th century. This oil on canvas was painted in 1753.  Van Loo painted a small series of works depicting the life of Saint Augustine.

Something is most distinctive : the colour of the livery of the bishops is not Roman purple but a shade of blue - at least, it seems so.  This is seen in the cassocks and mozettas worn by the several bishops in the painting.  It is most likely, however, that this is meant to represent a very weak shade of violet, rather than blue itself.

We also note that the rochets worn by the bishops over their cassocks are made from linen, without any form of lace decoration.  An odd omission is the pectoral Cross, which none of the bishops seem to be wearing.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Friday, 13 December 2019

For Gaudete Sunday 2019

Rose vestments
Twice a year, the Church breaks the tone of its penitential seasons by the use of rose-coloured vestments. Rose-coloured vestments were never commonplace and they still are not.

Many different colours have been deemed by the Church as acceptable as liturgical rose. Some of these are a salmon shade; some a silvery-pink, almost mushroom-colour; some close to what we would call Bishop's purple or fuchsia; and some red with overtones of gold.

We are pleased to feature these vestments in the Puginesque style, a commission from a new customer in Canada. The vestments are made from dupion silk in a darker shade of rose and lined in a subtle pink shade of taffeta. The orphrey of this chasuble is formed from our unique braid called Saint George.  

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : At this page.

Rose vestments

The Saint Bede Studio

Monday, 9 December 2019

The Colours of Advent : an Annual post

Often it is asserted by liturgical commentators and other internet experts, that there are "correct" colours for the vestments used during Lent and Advent. Curious as to the history of these colours in Liturgical use, some years ago we researched and posted an article  here and here, about use of penitential colours for the Seasons of Advent and Lent. If you have wondered what colour the Church recommends for these Seasons, you might find the article illuminating.

We include here an historic work of art to illustrate the practice of our forebears. This work (adjacent) was painted by an artist known as The Master of Osservanza in the year 1440 and depicts a Low Mass being offered at a side chapel in the Siena Cathedral (Italy).

Some observations. The chasuble being worn by the celebrant is violet: in other words, much the same colour as the flower "violets". It is a blue-ish colour, not purple and it is not too dark either. The chasuble is the full conical shape and is ornamented with a simple column-orphrey of dark fabric (possibly even black). Most likely, the front of the chasuble would have been decorated with the familiar "tau". The celebrant is wearing decorative apparels on his alb and amice, which match the colour of the chasuble's ornament. That is a very typical practice of the Mediaeval period. Note, too, the very full folds of the alb.

We see, also, that the young cleric assisting the celebrant is wearing a full-length surplice or rochet, according to the style typically found in Renaissance Italy. Those who claim that such surplices are a "Church of England", or a "Low Church Party" garment should note this well.

Lastly, the altar itself. It is clothed in a dark antependium or altar frontal, ornamented with scarlet red. On the altar is a Crucifix and a single candle. Although it may seem peculiar that there is but a single candle instead of a pair, it might be remarked that not until the 16th century was it a usual practice to have a pair of candlesticks on an altar.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.