Thursday, August 13, 2015

Designing a Casket

For those who are thinking about taking the Cabinet of Curiosities course and wonder about the designs, I would like to talk a bit about how we have been going about it.

The caskets that are being produced are 'modular'; this means that we started with one base and top and have been working from those external dimensions for all the caskets.  It took quite a bit of work to get to this - but it has been working out really great.  We used a real casket for the external and internal dimensions to get the right proportions.  What this means for the designs is that the top of a flat type casket is the same no matter if the piece has doors, is short or is tall.  And the friezes for a top are the same for any of the caskets.  So there is design portability, which is great because there can be more designs published in the class for use and they can be used on more than one casket type.    As well as you can change your mind on the type of casket you want to buy and not have to throw out your whole design - just some minor modifications need to be made.

And that means that we have made templates - these templates can be filled in with drawings or the

100's of motifs that are provided in the class that have been traced from original pieces.  In the class,
Example of templates in class for
fill-in work
there are some 100 or more sides and friezes that are also provided for mix and match design work.  Students often start with some of the complete sides and then start substituting or adding to them.  Some draw from their own abilities (I am still constantly amazed at the skill!!) and some collaborate with a local artist or my graphic designer to take their ideas and make them work on a set of casket templates.

A design that is a collaboration between stitcher Judy Laning
and graphic artist Dave Rickerd 
If you have seen the mini-casket that I have provided in the Needlework Nibbles, that is an example of a complete casket design made from the design sides provided in class.  There are also now around 50 sides that are partially designed and allow you to put in just the major motif or picture you want in the ovals.  In an earlier blog post, you saw an example of a mostly free-drawn stumpwork piece from Czech fairy tales.  Judy Laning has been working with a local Cincinnati artist, Dave Rickerd, to take her love of the Sir Lancelot and Guinevere tale and help her turn it into a wonderful casket design.

We just added a set of graph templates to the mix in four common linen sizes.  That is helping those who want to do a tent stitch or other counted technique work through the design.

The first three months of the course are devoted to helping the design process get moving for those who want an original piece.


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