Thursday, December 24, 2020

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 11

The Day 11 giveaway is one of two issues of the now not published Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly.  I am so sad this isn't published anymore!!

If you are interested in an issue:

1) you have to send me an email ( with "SANQ" in the subject line.  

2) You HAVE to put your name and full address in the body of the message (I can't send it to people who don't).  

3) Then send by Midnight EST on Dec 25th

I will pick two winners to send them to after Christmas.

Here is another close up picture of the Harmony with Nature Casket.  It shows many of the unusual threads that are used to stitch this piece.  Many people email me with a desire to take the class but professing they don't have the skills to do it.  When I designed this piece, I was very thoughtful in doing it to make it adaptable to many skill levels.  I chose the roundel design specifically for several reasons.  First, it allowed me to put the stumpwork from needlelace mostly inside the oval.  Why?  Well, it limited the needlelace and left the ovals and outside to be made in high relief with fancy threads like silk purls and Facette which are couched down.  Couching is a very simple skill where you take a second thread and go over the first that is laying on the surface.  So that took the skill level down.  Also, most stumpwork is worked in this period by doing satin stitch on the outline on the fabric and then making a separate needlelace petal (see the gilt sylke twist in blue in the middle bottom of the image?) and tacking it in place over that blue satin stitch under it.  So if a student wanted, they could omit the needlelace petal and their casket would still be complete and beautiful.  So I designed in ways to downgrade the 'level of difficulty'.  A student could try the harder technique to learn and decide for themselves if they wanted to put it on or not.  

The areas inside the oval were part of this teaching design philosophy as well.  So while in the example, they are stitched in stumpwork, often in the 17th century anything in an oval like that was stitched in tent stitch (half-cross stitch).  So say a student was more comfortable with cross stitch or liked that look - they could use the design and get a few extra soie paris threads and decide to stitch inside the oval with tent stitch using the drawn design as the reference like people doing needlepoint do.  I haven't yet seen one but I really hope someone does it as I think the effect would be amazing.  So see...that is why the linen was used vs a silk satin!  I was enabling someone in the class to change their mind and do tent stitch in the oval.

The oval design also had another ulterior motive - it enables design changes to the box.  Say you have another box you have seen that you just love.  But I have a lady playing a lute on the top of mine and you just love the boxes with a couple standing next to each other.  You don't have to design your own box.  You just need to trace the couple and put them inside my circle on the top instead of my lady.  And the box is then perfect to your taste!  One lady in the course is changing the circle to have a weaver in it using a composition from a period engraving.  I have gone back and forth with her showing other engravings with motifs and discussion how to position the figure, fill the space, etc.  I can't wait until the box is done and we can see it!  I celebrate those who change bits of the design to make it their own.  I made this design so it could be easy to modify.  The sprays of flowers at the top on the outside are easy to change the flower heads to those flowers that are meaningful for your country or even the big flowers on the front and back.  In fact the designer, John Nelham, in the 17th century used to change the heads on his flowers like this all the time, mixing and matching the leaves to different heads!  

So the Harmony with Nature box was careful edited and designed to enable the last group of people in my casket courses to chose their own adventure in a more limited and 'safe' way:

- Change a color

- Downgrade the skills 

- Change the design with easy spots to do this to make it your own piece

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