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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Phoebe Anna Traquair piece

Bloggers who followed my recent trip to the UK will be aware of the 2 pieces I began while on the Scottish Highlands Embroidery Tour. One, based on an 1899 panel by Phoebe Anna Traquair, was designed and taught by Meredith Willett who knows as much about Phoebe Anna Traquair as anyone alive.

Phoebe Anna was an artist born in Ireland in 1852 who married a Scottish scientist, moved to Edinburgh and produced an extensive body of paintings, murals, jewellery and embroidered panels. She was not a professional embroiderer but adapted techniques to suit her purpose. The small piece of embroidery we began with Meredith is based on a segment of the third panel (Despair) of her Progress of a Soul series, on display at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh.

We began stitching a large leaf - laying long stitches then crouching them down in a range of colours that reflected autumnal change.

We also worked birds and berries
to master the techniques.

The thread is Splendor 12 strand silk and most of the work is split stitch. The fabric is an antique loose weave linen sourced to closely match the fabric Phoebe Anna would have used.
Since returning home I have worked the other birds, the branch on which they sit 
and much of the sky.
I now have a rhythm and a bit of a run on this work so hope to continue to make progress. It is very addictive. I am practising split stitch with the needle coming up through the stitch, rather than down through the stitch. I usually find this difficult, but working in four strands of the Splendor silk makes it quite manageable. The silk has a lovely sheen and dimension.                 
I am now working the tricky trunk of the tree - about which there has been much discussion amongst my fellow travellers. More soon.  


Susan Mann said...

I love the Despair piece. The little birds look great. I can imagine how addictive it gets especially with such beautiful silk thread.

margaret said...

this is coming along beautifully love the little birds and interesting to read you are coming up on your split stitch it is certainly working well

Jillian Cheek said...

The birds are so attractive, and I love the effect of the couching over the long stitches. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished work.