Saturday, December 24, 2011

Where's a paper shredder when you need one?

Chapter 3 called for an examination of woven structures using paper strips.  I remember Anne writing that she had used her paper shreddings for this...but I didn't unfortunately possess such a useful tool so spent a 'while' cutting strips before I could start.
I got quite into the weaving process and then, of course, wanted to use them all up once I'd taken the time to cut them. Some looked too weird for display!  I've arranged some of the more successful ones below in 3.1

3.1 The top row shows closed woven structures using mostly 4 different coloured strips.
The bottom row shows open woven structures, trying to emulate the embroidered strapwork from my research in Chapter 1.

 3.2 Strips of white paper were folded concertina-like fashion then a pattern cut to created a repetitive patterned band (like making lines of snowflakes). 
The third white pattern is a linking of 2 bands woven together although that is not really obvious from the photo.
I cut some bands in coloured paper to make the woven links more obvious.  I particularly liked the line of little men that appeared in the negative spaces of the first coloured weaving.

 3.3 shows weavings using strips and 'hollow shapes'.
The top one and the last (bottom right) use shapes loosely found in the strapwork of Holbein's paintings.  The second and third patterns use a hollow shape of a gumnut (in 2 sizes) that I worked on in my A5 sketchbook of Module 1.  The shapes seem to make an interesting looped motif in the third design that looks similar to looped cording in strapwork.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Braid printing and preparation

I made samples of the stitches found in Tudor strapwork embroidery on a 'large scale' so that they might be used as printing blocks in their own right for the next chapter.

2.1 From left to right the samples are: plaited braid stitch and braid stitch using 6mm leather cording on a grid from a plastic fruit box, then plaited braid stitch, braid stitch and ladder stitch using blind cord on 7hpi plastic canvas.
The largest 'block' is about 5cm by 14cm.

I used the blocks above on both paper and fabric using different coloured lumiere paints to create backgrounds for later.
2.2 from top left clockwise:
large plaited braid on black hessian, small braid stitch on cotton, large plaited braid stitch on cotton, small plaited on cotton.


2.3 I practised making some braids and knotted cords using felt cords I'd made previously.
The samples in the photo show the following: chain sinnet (or monkey chain), a single braid, a 4-stranded plaited braid, snake cord, square knotted braid, a 4-stranded striped braid, a chinese knot, and a 6-stranded chevron braid.
I owned a few books on celtic and chinese knots already for source material but found a few more on the web eg and

As a bit of an aside, the snake cord is one that I do quite often in miniature for loops and closures on bags.

 I didn't include the Chinese ball knot in these samples as I felt it was too 3-dimensional for strapwork inclusion but it's one knot I use a lot - for tidying up the end of cords on shoulder bags more attractively than an ordinary overhand knot and a bit different from a bead.

It's amazing how many people notice it and ask how it's done.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Carols in the Domain

Saturday night we risked the chance of rain to go into Sydney for the annual Carols in the Domain, held in the open air out on the Domain parkland in the centre of Sydney.
The rain stayed off and it turned into a lovely evening.  There were thousands in the crowd as usual and we'd arrived with only 30mins to go before televising started so it was a bit unlikely we'd find anywhere to sit.
But our luck was in and a family with very tired crying toddlers were vacating their space as we passed so we descended with Esky and rug in lightening speed.

It's a lovely night just for the spectacle of thousands sitting in the dark all with candles, singing carols - it sets you up in the right mood for Christmas.

Good wishes to all my fellow bloggers and distant stitchers whether you are baking in sunshine or freezing in the snow!
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tudor Strapwork

Finally got round to presenting my research on strapwork designs in Tudor embroidery.  I realised that I'd started collecting bits and pieces a year ago, oops, but better late than never.  This is one piece of reearch I wish I had been in the UK to study but books and photos from previous trips had to suffice, along with the internet of course.

I've presented the work on 3 A3 boards with a short A4 text.
The "Shakespearean" script on the boards I downloaded from a website so hope it's readable.

The designs have been replicated using felt cords I made and leather cording I had already as I felt they reflected the materials of the time.

The third board has stitch examples sewn in gold thread on 32count linen, and some rubbings taken from the printing blocks prepared for chapter 2.