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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Opus Anglicanum: Roger the Little finish

Since the Embroiderers' Guild Summer Week of classes, I have been doing my best to finish the four pieces I started as part of the classes I did. The box with the acorn embroidered on velvet  in my last post was finished in time to house some jewellery for my eldest granddaughter's birthday last month. 

I then moved on to Roger the Little, a horse head embroidered on linen, also part of Alison Cole's Opus Anglicanum class.

This was a lovely piece to work on. I won't go into the detail of stitches. It is Alison's design and I'm sure she will be offering it in future classes.

The only difficulty I had was in shading. I would have liked a couple more transition colours between the dark and light greys.

Nevertheless, I am pleased with the result.

I had, all along, planned to use this on the lid of the companion box to the one I used for the acorn. Once it was finished I went in search of an alternative - a box with a round mounting space of the right size - but I was unable to find exactly what I was looking for, so returned to the original  plan.

I padded the back of the roundel and backed it with another layer of linen, couching a gold thread around the outer edge to give it dimension .

The box I had is not easy to work with, having a very narrow edge to which to affix an inset. There is also a shallow allowance for the lid to fit the box, so the inset needs to fit high and tight into the lid.

In order to minimise the thickness of fabric at the edges I mounted the edges in silk and cut away as much of the linen as I could.

In process I pricked myself and added my blood to the linen!

Again, attaching the inset to the lid was difficult. I can't find tacks short enough, and getting even a small staple gun into the space is difficult. I managed with the help of pliers. I am sure there are better tools for achieving this, but I don't have them.

I have a bit of a plan for this box - but will set it aside for several months.

Now for Mary!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Summer Week at the Guild: Opus Anglicanum

My second two day class at the SA Embroiderers' Guild Summer School was a class in Opus Anglicanum with Alison Cole. Alison spent several days attending the 2016-7 Opus Anglicanum Exhibition at the V&A, researching the exhibits and the history. Subsequently she has developed projects based on her research.  Our class was a triptych - three small pieces, one on linen, one on silk and one on velvet. Shown here are Alison's photos for the workshop.

 As it turned out, I could have spent two days on each!

Alison's skill and knowledge are deep and she is generous with her knowledge and her time.

We worked on the horse for most of the first day. I'd have loved to keep going with it, but needed to learn the skills for the other two pieces. I haven't posted a photo of my horse-in-progress because it would be too easy to use it to copy the design and techniques. I try to save my post until I have items finished, but I can see this is going to take some time at the moment. I'll post an account when the horse is finished.

Mary was also pleasant to work on. We had a bit of debate about her state of mind and I'm sure the finished class pieces will show a variety of changes to her expression!

I spent a bit of time on her chin, cloak and, at home, her crown.

Again,  Mary is unfinished and I will post more when she is completed.

The final piece, the acorn, is the one we spent least time on, and the one I decided to finish - largely because I thought it most easily achievable, but also because I had not embroidered on velvet before.

My tracing was decidedly wonky. I should have redrawn it, but didn't. My stitching, using the gold laying thread, was also far from perfect - even with magnification I was having trouble seeing clearly.

 Even so, the moment of truth was exciting!
All in all, the velvet rescued me, and it wasn't too bad!

I had given some thought to what I might do with the three pieces. Framing and mounting holds little appeal for me.

I dug out a couple of small boxes I have had for a while - intending to put initials on them for my granddaughters.

The horse and the acorn fit perfectly. I needed a staple gun to hold the insert in place as the box design does not allow much room for a backing.

I also added some stems to the leaves and a small central bead stem - hopefully these provide a little reshaping.

I have another plan for Mary!

Once again, thanks to Alison and a great group of women for two days of pleasure and learning.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Summer Week At the Guild - Australian Bush

My apologies to anyone who received a notice about this post before it was finished. I have been using a new app to load photos and it defaults to ‘publish’ rather than ‘draft’. This took me a while to work out. I often collect photos well before I add text, and had no idea the photos I was gathering had been posted. I hope I now have the hang of the new app.

This January I did two classes at the Embroiderers’s Guild Summer Week. Both classes were with Alison Cole. I enjoy Alison’s classes and, as she comes from Victoria, chances to learn from her in Adelaide do not come easily. 

The first two-day Class was entitled Australian Bush and was a sculptured project that really stretched my boundaries.

We began by dyeing silk - learning both wet and dry methods. I’ve not done this before but was keen to try. It was a lot of fun. Some of the group were quite experience at this. There was a lot of chatter and sharing. The temperature outside our air conditioned haven reached 41C, so we did not have to wait more than a few minutes for them to dry!

We worked with mulberry bark, padding,  wires and added some goldwork. Alison’s double-sided brick stitch was pretty amazing and required patience. I was determined to master it and worked on it at home late into the night.

I was more familiar with stumpwork wires - and decided to use this technique for some of the gum leaves as well as the moth.

I have not finished assembling this yet - I had another class immediately after this one and I have found it hard to keep up.

I’m not at all sure what I am going to do with the finished piece. It isn’t something I can turn into a utilitarian item! 

Regardless of what I do with it, it was an engaging and fun class. I learned a heap and pushed my boundaries. My next class was also with Alison Cole - Opus Anglicanum. That's the topic of my next post!