Embroidery, Printing, Uncategorized

A Bit of Everything – 28th December 2020

There have been so many distractions over the last few days that I’m almost amazed that i have achieved anything.

My new plate worked and that was pleasing. I had printed trial samples of various colour percentages with my new silver ink and ended up with silver plus a little Winter Grey ( such an appropriate title at the minute!), just to take the edge off the shine. My new working of the woven silk piece that was the source of inspiration, see last blog, seemed to fulfil the spirit of the cloth and also what I had in my minds eye. So far so good, a few more prints to go in the sequence of alterations.

I have covered my 2021 notebook and, as in past years I have used an old piece of work. I was struck that the 2020 notebook isn’t as fat as previous years and I put this down to not having visited exhibitions, not exhibited and there were no holidays. One must look forward!

The cover incorporates a piece of Mogul silk embroidery to cotton dating from c1800, there are signs of wear on it, but they are part of its journey.

And finally, my books.

There were lots of pictures in some and I will admit to only reading properly the era or subject matter that interested me!

May you all have a peaceful and contented new year and thank you for reading my ramblings.

Embroidery, General, Printing

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back – 14th December 2020

During my reading of the text books on my shelves, the words “vulnerable to alteration” stuck in my mind, it related to C18th dresses. 

In the past I have focussed on the reusing of textiles, often until they had become rags, but these words seemed to present a slightly different meaning and I had a starting point for a body of work.

I knew that there were very few unaltered C18th dresses in museums around the world, fabrics could often be dated to up to 20 years before the style in which they currently presented and with signs of old seams, pleats etc.

I decided to focus on this piece of 1780’s woven silk, it’s heavy with metal threads woven through it, but what really appealed was that the side selvedges were still there, with a distance of 21” between them. Standards of the day prescribed that the width of woven silk should be half an ell, i.e. 22.5”. So even when it was new it had already  altered from the norm, being narrower made it cheaper and quicker for the weaver.

At the sides there is evidence of two different seams, one with fawn thread and one with red and the top edge has holes, probably where it had been tacked to a board and then ripped off. There are also some stitches in the fawn thread that might have been darts or pleats. All the threads are old, probably pre 1850.

I used the width of the silk as the length of my printing plate, 53.3cm, as my starting point, and then, full of enthusiasm I began designing. However my first two designs fell short of what I had in my minds eye, never seeming to capture the spirit of the silk.

So I started again, from a different angle and this is where I am now.

And the books that I looked at are…..

Book Making, Embroidery, Printing

All Sorts of Things – 30th November 2020

I completed the book “Lace, Woven, Print, Stitch” and was happy in the way it turned out, a long book can be difficult as it becomes loose and floppy and the structure feels weak, but by stitching the 32cm pieces together so that a compact concertina style is constructed there is strength. 

Into each end fold I embossed the words with little wooden letters, there was really only one shot at this and thankfully it worked.

It wasn’t displacement therapy but I tidied the drawer which holds all my trial books and sorted them into styles.

I also decided to re mount an 1820’s whitework collar which is hanging in my studio. I laughed at the non-fade black paper onto which I had previously mounted the fabric, as you can see it left a perfect print!

And my book challenge —I will admit that the top and bottom books I didn’t read during the last fortnight, I had bought and read them during the first lockdown, but they were there in sequence so I added them to the pile.

I am planning a new printing plate to develop over the next couple of weeks, I do hope that it works out.