Friday, February 25, 2011

A Seventeenth Century Embroidery

This is a Victorian era reduced copy of a seventeenth century curtain embroidered with crewels. So the scale has been reduced from the actual size of the original. It must have been a beautiful thing the curtain, don't you think. I imagine the thread colours were rich and earthy, aubergine purple, peacock blue, leaf green, Morrocan red, and mustard yellow.

This is a detail of the design showing some of the design inspiration for the thread work. Crewelwork is over a thousand years old, the Bayeux tapestry uses crewelwork techniques. It is worked in wool, with different embroidery stitches filling a design outline applied to the fabric.

Its a quite naturalistic style, and yet with lovely free flowing lines and layout, feels sort of Persian to me. What do you think?

French knots, satin stitch and couched threads, and built up layers giving a texturally rich surface.

So I love it, what a wonderful form of embroidery, and I want to have a play with it, but I am not sure about the woolen thread, I think I will play with a finer form to start with, maybe working with applique.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A wonderful book

I wanted to share a book with you that I purchased off Trade Me. Unfortunately I don't have a camera at the moment so I can't show you an image of it. However here is something beautiful in the same vein, a very old and fragile embroidery.

The book is Berlin Work Samplers and Embroidery of the Nineteenth Century, by Marina Carmignani.

I haven't been able to post for a few weeks as I have a few distractions at the present time. However I wanted to share something from the introduction of the book I mentioned above, written by Huguette Perol, Ambassador of France in Rome.

"When I think of embroidery I think of Penelope who weaves and then unweaves her loom, patiently absorbed in her work; a long solitary wait, a discreet unfolding upon itself, her hands that move lightly and quickly, busy in her pleasant work while her mind is free to fantasize or think. Domestic art for excellence, feminine art made of dreams and thoughts, next to an open window to catch the light or near a fire where the flames make colours dance."

I loved those words, they spoke to me so beautifully, as this is my favourite place to be, creative and working with a delightful textiles next to my garden window, or seated by the fire, a place of peace and tranquility.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Do you remember Trixies' Coat

Well you may not have met the gorgeous Trixie, in the days of her youth she was a great star of the screen and stage.

She is the most wonderful, inspiring friend, and has so much love to give, she is vibrant and full of life. I love her dearly. So I wanted to make her a unique piece of clothing, and to me the Butterick coat pattern from 1919, said so much about the person she is.

You see she loves pleasure, and all things fine, as the Beau Epoch drew to a close, this coat encapsulates so much of what that era had been. The Japanese influence, that shaped the look of Art Nouveau, and introduced new shapes to gowns and coats, the feel of luxury reflected in this last age where the aristocracy, who lived their lives solely in the pursuit of pleasure, still led fashion.

Here is the toile, so you can see the shape of the coat. It is loosely cut, and beautifully shaped. Coats with this shape were known as cocoon coats.

Well it has not been in my thoughts for a while, and its time to start thinking about the embroidery, and decorative elements for the fabric of the body of the coat. These were some of the images that inspired me.

This pink was just divine.

And I wanted a Japanese feel.

I liked these simple circular shapes.

So often used in Japanese fabrics.

Still loving this, with the feeling of willows, from that wet spring day months ago, when we walked to the beach and talked about the coat.

So lets see what the weekend brings, and which project lures me in. What do you think of these colours, rather that the pink and green?

If you want to look back at the original post to see where I started, here is the link:

So you may be thinking

You are probably thinking this blog is all about ruffs, and that I have forgotten all about Trixie's and Jo Jo's coats. Well I haven't my petulant darlings, there is much more to come in those departments. It is just I have been pretty focused on an exhibition idea, but more to come on that later. Something else that has taken my time is the creation of a range of textile jewellery. I have been playing with some ideas, so tell me what you think?

This is called Hannah's ruff, I don't really know why. It is made with a fine cotton lace sewn onto a figured cotton voile, crisp and sheer.

I was trying to get a ruff that looked like the one worn by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in this 16th C portrait. I really like the look of his wrist ruffs, aren't they gorgeous?

I followed the technique shown above from: A History of Fashion, by J. Anderson Black and Madge Garland.

So this is up to the first stage, before the pleats are joined as shown above. The pink taffeta looks gorgeous against the voile with its delicate floral print don't you think?

So I will be posting again soon, gotta start thinking about the coats again, get my mind off death and hospitals, needles and pain.