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What's Done So Far 5/10/10A background on this project...About a year ago I spent a weekend stitching on the Plimoth Plantation jacket project. Since I came in at the end of the project, most of the embroidery was complete, so I split my time between sewing on spangles and stitching in tendrils with gold passing thread. However, in preparation, I'd worked on the sampler project required for participation. It seemed deceptively simple--little shapes in detatched buttonhole stitch. I managed to complete and submit my sampler, but I hadn't been happy with the results.

Since then, I've practiced in a desultory manner--but slowly my skills have improved. A week before going on vacation last month, I realized a kit project I'd ordered wasn't going to be ready before I left. So, I decided to take the plunge and come up with my own project.

Initially, I attempted to scale up a design of an original (child's sized) coif--but I discovered that the repeats weren't nearly as regular as I thought they were! When I tried to add on new repeats, the design became a mess, so I scrapped that idea.

Then I came up with the idea of designing my own, much as drafters had done so in the era. They  adapted desired elements out of common motifs, usually onto a circular vine pattern. So, I started taking out jam jars to trace out circular vines and played around with motifs.

My design is mostly based off motifs in the 1608 Trevelyon Miscellany at the Folger Shakespeare Library. It's an original pattern book of embroidery designs from the Tudor period--and many of the designs in it are commonly seen in Tudor embroidered objects, especially jackets, coifs and cushion covers.  I'd seen the original book on display a couple of years ago when we'd gone to see a play at the Folger, so I returned to study the designs out of a facsimile edition the Library kept for public reference. 

To be honest, this is a big challenge for me. Those motifs are small, but they sure take a lot of time to stitch (though when I do it, I barely notice the clock)! As you can see, I've got a lot of work to do. I'm hoping that by journalling this, I'll keep a record for my own reference--a record not just for recalling the decisions and challenges I faced, but also to pull myself back to working on it once other projects seem more appealing. I figure to make my posts public--maybe it will inspire others to try it, too (if you do, friend me so I can get inspired back!

One thing I'm learning--I stitch much better by natural light. So, I have my little setup put by the sliding glass doors to the deck--it may not be south facing, but it's the best light in the house. It's a nice thing to do before heading out to work.

I held off posting this for two days due to difficulty posting the took me that long to realize LJ doesnt like bitmaps.

Date: 2010-05-21 05:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In either hemisphere (northern, southern), it's the light from the respective pole (North, South) which is deemed steadiest by artists. There will be less shifting of shadows if the exposure is northerly, and less change in perceiving colors relative to themselves or to one another.
Try working on a sketch or drawing ("from life" and in color) for the first two hours after sun-up, just to see how the colors seem to change, or better, take sequential photos of *one* view of *one* object in a room with an eastern or western exposure for two hours, say one image every fifteen minutes. On a digital camera, you'll get a record of the color shifts.
Quite enlightening.
I gained the experiential knowledge the hard way, when I had just one day to complete the last two items required for the portfolio on which I would be graded for the term. H'mm, what to do, what to do.... Still life! No problem! Blitz through that in the morning---
Impossible to paint that fast (for me, anyway) and I couldn't compensate *enough* for the changes in the color and 'temperature' of the light. (And my instructor could tell exactly what had occurred: painted early in the morning, rapidly shifting light.)

Anyway, all that---above---having been said, which is why I'd expect you to want a north-facing window, why would you prefer one facing south?

Date: 2010-05-22 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You have a good point--the color from the light from this northwesterly window is good. I think the problem is mostly I want more of it! When I get home, it's usually dusk--and these tiny stitches are difficult to see, even with magnification. A girlfriend came by last night and offered to lend me a standing magnifier...hopefully that will do the trick!

Date: 2010-05-23 09:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, yes; there is that: *quantity* of light.

I've debated with myself over getting some type of magnifier, either one that "stands" on the upper thorax, or one that affixes to the sewing machine---which seems more limiting.
You have to wonder at some of the antique and even vintage stitching you see, no?
There was an exhibit at CMA of odds and ends---drawings, paintings, some textiles, perhaps some enamel work, as I recall the exhibit. All I actively remember are some drawings by Ingres and by Picasso and a piece of white-on-white tambour work from the late-18th/early-19thC, in India.
To see the stitches, one looked through a lens set in the display case wall which directed the line of vision through a second lens mounted in front of the work: unbelievably---and I use that term carefully consideredly---finely woven cotton worked over in at least equally fine cotton thread.
The tambour hook was included; if you looked at it at *juuuusssstt* the right angle, you could detect the merest irregularity at the end of the shaft, and that was the hook part of the hook.
The fabric thread count had to number in the hundreds. If a single tambour stitch was no larger than an interstice....
Mind-blowing. It really was.
And if you peered closely, focused your mind as well as your eyes, you could see the stitches themselves which under strong magnification were as regular and even as anything that could have been produced by a machine today.


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