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Elmsley Rose

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Elmsley Rose

26 August 2011

Card of an c1700 English Coverlet in silk and gold

This is a card that I found tucked away. I don’t know where or how I got it – just that it was before I was into embroidery!
It’s advertising an exhibition back in 2005, called “Everlasting – The Flower in Fashion and Textiles”.
Given that flowers are my favourite embroidery motifs, how I would love to go the exhibition now!
It says that the card is an English coverlet, c1700, silk, silk thread, gilt thread.
I haven’t seen anything like it before. All metal flowers, yes. Flowers edged in metal thread, yes. Never satin stitched metal thread mixed in with silk thread as if it were silk.
The stems are satin stitched in gold metal thread.
In the red flower, 2 petals are entirely gilt satin stitched, and the innards of the rest of the petals. It’s centre looks like thick silk, tightly curled then partly unwound, and then couched down.
The blue flower is edged in gold stitches on the edges of each of the two ‘layers’ of the flower. It’s centre looks like stretched gold purl, possibly padded.
The buds and leaves all have satin stitched gold thread at their edges. (It looks black or silver in the scan as well as looking like actual gold in more heavily stitched areas – my camera->computer connection is playing up so I had to scan it, loosing the reflection of the gilt thread).

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23 August 2011

Goldwork and Silk Pomengranate

This is from the Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2A Practical Magazine For The Studio, The Workshop And The Home, published by Hutchinson & Company in 1904. (and hence copyright free)
I found this book very hard to navigate. Many of the design drawings are missing – they are in “Supplement A” which is nowhere to be found, even after searching the Net. I await an e-mail about it from the site author. The pages are unmarked. Occasionally, a design will pop up on the wrong and totally unrelated page and some can be found individually under Google Web/Image searches. Nothing under Google Books/Scholar. I was about ready to strangle this book after spending yesterday with it!
However, in spite of all this, I have the following project to offer you from the magazine. I haven’t tried to clean up the design picture itself at all (I’m not Mary Corbet!).
It is an applique piece meant for a superfrontal.
The design for an altar frontal and a super-frontal given herewith are to be worked on red velvet; or rather the embroidery, first executed on linen, is transferred to the velvet.
The open portion would look well in basket stitch, a good deal stuffed, of gold threads, sewn down with a deep-coloured red silk; or it may be treated as shown in the chawing, with the seeds worked in satin stitch of gold-coloured silk, or with Japanese gold sewn very closely in a circular form, and the spaces filled in with French knots of silk. These should not all be of one hue, but some in deep reds, with others toning towards gold, should he-used.
The lines marking the outlines and the divisions of the fruit should be worked in stem stitch, in the deep purplish red which has come to be conventionally used for pomegranate.
Between these lines the silk used should be golden in hue, shading into reds at the two extremities. Care must be taken, however, to keep the reds sufficiently distinct from the velvet ground.
The crown of petals at the top may be worked wholly in rich gold-colour, with a little red introduced, so as to give richness, and they may be outlined with Japanese gold.
The foliage at the back of the fruit should be lighter in tone than the sprays at the side. It is impossible to give written directions for the hues to be selected, as they must depend on the tone of the ground.
The buds must introduce a brighter pomegranate shade than any used in the fruit. Although they must he kept somewhat low-in tone, so as not to appear patchy, they must follow out to brighter tones the colours used in the pomegranate.
As there is a great preponderance of red and yellow in the fruit and flowers, the greens used in the foliage would need to contain a good deal of blue, but they may be toned off into bronze, so as to carry on the colouring of the former and bring it into relation with the gold thread.
I find that last paragraph giving detail on how to pick the colours absolutely fascinating…..

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22 August 2011

A Great Source for Embroidery Books

Are you after a copy of Erica Wilson? Mary Brown? Theresa Dillmonte? the older crewel books? Lace? Whitework?

I was just having a trawl through the vintage embroidery books on Etsy. I think the Dillmonte (hardback) was $12, and the Erica Wilson (several copies) $8. There's 822 books in the search today. One book on Assisi embroidery selling for over $80, so that one must be special. I don't think a lot of the sellers have a clue what they are selling as their descriptions are sometimes a bit vague.....

Of course there are modern books as well - but I'd recommend searching by a particular embroidery subject in that case if you search under "All Items", rather than under the "Vintage" catagory where the link above will put you....or you'll be buried in results :-)
Searching on "embroidery book" in the category "All Items", just to survey the variety of books brought up (way too many pages to look through) I saw a couple of particularly good ones :
1971 Edition of The Needlework of Mary Queen of Scotts - $US12.

I also saw 2 Helen Stevens (needlepainting) books selling for $8 each.

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21 August 2011

Some Ecclesiastical Embroidery Images

I happened to pick image showing details, though most show the full garments (it's actually a search on "copes") (as IF I was not going to pick the rose!)

Two pages of images from various people.

If you search on "Vestments" 7 pages come up although many of contemporary made vestments.

Any other good words to search on?

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19 August 2011

Happiness Is......

Finding the perfect 100% cotton velvet in Royal Purple. Finally!

Thankyou SO much to all the people who suggested various stores.

Rennaissance Fabrics!

You wouldn't believe how many rayon mixes, and non-Royal Purples I've gone through!

I've had a great time today, discussing the design and making of the Bishop's Cope on the Facebook Historic Embroidery group. Everyone has been tremendously helpful :-)

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9 August 2011

New Historical Embroidery Group and the Mira Calligraphae Monumenta

Just in case you haven't heard, there's a new historical embroidery group on Facebook. It numbered 189 members within 3 days, and there are already many discussion threads as people discuss various images and motifs, and where they are in books etc. The last question I saw asked was how do you fit your head to a coif. And it's so easy to put images in!

It's non-specific historical period - ie all of them.

There's also been several interesting documents and photo albums created (I didn't know you could do that in Facebook!) One album on swetebags, contributed by Melinda Sherbring/Eowyn, and another on Scrolling Stem stitch variations of the weird and wonderful variety, and another with some wonderful Slips (both extant and made by herself) from Louise Pass, ...I could keep going, ......Elizabethan stuff so far, but people will be able to find each other that like Icelandic folk embroidery or ....whatever.

Kimoko Small and Susan Farmer are the moderators.

To be one of the crowd, you'll need a Facebook page and then join the group You need to wait permission to join - that's just an anti-spam strategy.

 Baroque_Embellishments (Kimberly) did a very nice analysis of the insect/butterfly shapes in one of the images shown in my post on the Mira Calligraphae Monumenta.

Francesca mentioned that she'd been using the book as a source for china painting. I got it (as my most expensive book, and a special treasure) when I was doing calligraphy and illumination - I love the Bastarde calligraphy and the cadeaux (the very large flourished letter). It would be great for a botancial illustrator/painter as well.

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7 August 2011

Mira Calligraphae Monumenta - Extracts are cheaper

I mentioned in my last post, on the Green Man, having the Mira Calligraphae Monumenta as a design source.

If you've looked up the prices of the book, and fainted - yes, this is the most expensive book I own. But there are 3 paperback 'extract' books taken from it - one on the calligraphy, one on the pen art and "Nature Illuminated" (the one that would interest us) - $10ish on Amazon for the hardback.
"Nature Illuminated reproduces forty-one pages from the original codex. Those who love and collect beautiful books will be endlessly fascinated by Hoefnagel's imagery and invention. The accompanying commentary identifies and explains the details of Hoefnagel's exquisitely crafted illuminations." (Amazon)

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6 August 2011

Mira Calligraphae Monumenta - The Green Man

I've always wanted to embroider a Green Man. But looking at embroideries of him, I've never seen one that has inspired me to do my own version.

"A Green Man is a sculpture(SP), drawing(SP), or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves(SP). Branches or vines(SP) may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament(SP), Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches(SP) and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical)"  (Wikipedia)

Finally I've found a source of inspiration! From the Mira Calligraphae Monumenta, of which I own a copy :

" In 1561-62, Georg Bocskay, imperial secretary to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, inscribed the Mira calligraphiae monumenta as a testament to his preeminence among scribes. He assembled a vast selection of contemporary and historical scripts, which nearly thirty years later were further embellished by Joris Hoefnagel, Europe's last great manuscript illuminator. This book, now in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, is reproduced here in complete facsimile form,... Topics include Hoefnagel's nature imagery, which encompasses plants, fruits, and small animals, and its relation to the spread of interest in botany and zoology at the end of the sixteenth century. ......" (Amazon)
Never mind Herbals - I regard this as my best 'natural image' source book for embroideries. Here's a couple of images from it :

The Green Man that inspires me :-

 Laid gold passing for his hair and whiskers, with some darker gold for the shadows (eg the underside of his hair), some padding around his eyes and mouth, and the actual face done in needlepainting. The beard would be interesting to do - in silk or in shades of gold metal thread, or a mixture?

The actual eyeballs would be really hard to get correct - I'd have to think about that. Maybe consult with Jane of Chilly Hollow Adventures - she's good at things like that.

I don't plan to do the branches with the acorns that extend out the top sides of his head, or the red thingy on top. Just his face would be enough. I think that I would include the horns, to provide balance in the 'weight' distribution in the piece.

More images :-

Green Man Embroideries

More images from the Mira Calligraphae Monumenta

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4 August 2011

Decorating the Butterfly’s Back

I can’t embroider right now, but that doesn’t stop me doing a bit of reading and thinking!

I was hanging out in “Art of Needlework”, by Lewis F Day

(downloadable for free, all sorts of interesting stuff in there).

I was reading about interlaced stitches.

Here’s the Interlacing sampler Mr Day provides :


Here’s the body in question that I want to cover in a fairly open diaper pattern……


I’ve talked about the difficulty of adding a decorative thread pattern on top of the body before, because the body is wrapped stem stitch bars, so using those threads as a ground will muck up their tension and allow the (purple) ground to show through. (which might be an option in the end, anyway). But I think it needs some decoration, to fit in with the highly coloured and detailed wings. I’m pretty sold on using the metallic copper thread that I used in the wings.

I want a vaguely rounded decorative stitch and so I favour (A) from the Sampler. The wings and the shape of the body are all curves, so I want a pattern that is a bit neutral, or curvy.

I like (B) but I don’t think it’ll work in metallic thread.

Btw, although I loved the idea of using an Electyra Beetle wing for the head, I don’t think it works, and have since replaced it with a purple head.

Back to the interlacing sample,…… as typical in books this old, the explanation on how to do the stitches is pretty brief. And I’m hopeless without step by step instructions anyway.

The stitch instructions for Sample (A) are


Could someone possibly explain this in words of one syllable for me?

(To see the whole section on Interlaced Stitching, search on “Interlaced” within the document).

I’ve got lots of options from Mary Thomas’ book as well. I’m after something that is curvy, and impacts on the ground (the stem stitch) as little as possible, preferably only going *into* the ground at the edge of the body.

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