Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Teaser - Stumpwork Mirror

I thought before I posted about another student finish that I would put out there a few teaser images.  The stump work mirror frame project that was a late addition to the Cabinet of Curiosities Part II - Stumpwork Course is really heating up and starting to look good.  What do you think?

This month in the lessons we are spending time on all the bugs on the project.  There are all kinds of treatments with plenty of them looking as if they will get up and fly right off the fabric.

I am busy working on figures for upcoming lessons.

If you are interested in joining us for the course and maybe working this project, visit the stumpwork page on the link above in the blog menu.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Lovely Ladies!

Today's set of details show the lovely ladies that make up the five senses on Janice's casket.  She did an amazing job of adding details such as stitching on top of the needlelace to add patterns to the dresses.  Another fun thing to point out is the imaginative use of a musical instrument miniature for Hearing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Friezes have wonderful details!

The friezes are wonderfully colored and detailed on Janice's casket.  She did a lovely job of stuffing and making the animals in them with needlelace to give them dimention over the tent stitched background.  Note that many of the flowers had needlelace petals as well and some seem padded to raise them above the background.

I will give a shameless plug for the Cabinet of Curiosities course here - you can see in some of the details the materials made for the course that give it that wonderful authentic finish - such as the glass eyes, silver tape and tin plated brass hardware.  These are the frostings that help add the it factor to Janice's imaginative and expert stitching.  But I can't take credit for the Ram and the addition of a shell to make his horns - that is all Janice and I just love it!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Details of Top of Janice's Casket

Today I want to show some details of Hagar and Abraham from the top of Janice's casket to give you an idea of the fantastic details she included.  The buttonhole edge to Hagar's cap, her hands, and the fabolous basket are just a few.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Janice's Design Story

I am thrilled to be able to show Janice Gail's casket off for her and tell some of the story behind it as well as share the lovely photos.  We all can see that the piece is just gorgeous, but I know it is more so as photos of silk embroidery just never show the dimension and texture as well as we want because of the reflections off silk.  

Janice says about the design:

Well, I chose the ladies to represent my daughters (one is a musician for Sound and the other is an artist for Sight). The other three are for my sisters, one of whom has passed away. The other two sisters fought over who would get to be represented by which Sense (lovingly, of course). 
The colors of hair and dresses were picked to go with each individual, I TRIED to make them look similar to each person (not too successfully) and pictures were sent to everyone to keep them up to date. The back was to represent my husband and son, with me thrown in just to keep things going along family lines.
The top was simply a design just as you [teacher] sent it to us to see if I could give the right 17th century feel to things. I actually think that I like that one the best as I could attempt to get personality into the people. The knotwork was the first design picked, to symbolize my Irish heritage, and the sheep HAD to be on there as my ancestors were sheep herders in New Mexico in the 1800's.  
It was so challenging to try to tell MY story, but make it look like an original styled casket. I had fallen in love with a picture of the Martha Edlin casket when I was 10, and dreamed of having one of my very own for the 55 years since then, so there was no decision over what style. It's also VERY addictive, and I dove head first into a mirror surround after the casket (the same week)!
I love how she took the allegories of the senses and managed to represent her family while staying true to the 17th century form.  Tomorrow I will add a few details as I know everyone is dying to get up close!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


I am so happy to post these pictures today to celebrate two caskets which were finished by students.  I am going to take several blogs to show the pictures in detail as well as some stories and insights by both of the casket makers.

But today it is all about celebration!  There are many students who have wonderful stories they are working on, designs they are coloring, stitching started and some even finished but not mounted yet.  So it is excited amongst all this wonderful progress to see two pieces finished and displayed.  It is especially great when you realize that the routes to a casket were down two very different paths (but equally encouraged in class).

Janice Gail chose a traditional design idea with the five senses around the sides and Abraham and
Hagar on the top.  She rendered them in exquisite stumpwork detailing, working over 4000 hours on the embroidery.  She worked mostly with the threads in the course kits and bought a double casket to apply her outstanding work.  I can't wait to share more pictures tomorrow as well as the story behind this traditional design and how it represents members of her special family.

Five senses double casket in stumpwork by Janice Gail

Flat Top Casket by Edith and John Brewer,
Design adapted from Tempting Tangles Designs
Edith and John Brewer took a different path to a wonderful piece.  John decided to make the casket for his wife and went as far as making her an oak carrying case based on the originals we viewed in class.  They chose a flat top model and designed the interior as they wanted.  A true joint project between the two of them!  Edith has planned to make more than one casket and John is planning to oblige so she decided to use a counted work pattern she had see on Tempting Tangles Designs and so she purchased it and adapted it for this project.

I love these two pieces because they show the range - counted from an adapted pattern to original stumpwork and a purchased casket to a lovingly designed and fabricated piece by a spouse.  This is exactly why the Cabinet of Curiosities course is so "complicated" and also so difficult to explain when prospective students look at it.  The course teaches you, enables you and allows you the flexibility to make your dream.  It is designed to be respectful to your budget for such a large project as well as where you are in your comfort with different stitches.

What I find interesting, is that there is a handful of students who are doing both counted and stumpwork caskets or mirror frames.  Clearly they have decided to feed multiple parts of their soul with their work.

I hope you will join me for the next week in looking at the details and congratulating these accomplished stitchers (and makers) in the comments!