Tuesday, 8 November 2011

St Katherine’s crown is complete

I think short posts suit my constitution…

Split Stitching with Silk
Well its certainly infinitely easier to Split Stitch with silk than cotton thread, any day!
As you can see, even though the variety I’m using is a bit too thin for my purposes, its great the way it ‘splits’ by itself, each time you go to take a new stitch.
easy Split Stitching with silk
With this technical advantage, I filled the crown quite quickly.
This is the essential design of the crown:
Crown pattern
It incorporates 4 main medieval Fleur de Lys on spikes.  Each of those spikes further multiplies the design into a quatrefoil.  Between the main spikes are smaller spikes, with a single Fleur de Lys.  There are  2 sizes of pearl bead used.  3 large pronged gems (funny, I thought prongs arrived much later?).  The motif is filled with gold coloured silk and outlined in gold passing.
One would think all of that was quite straightforward.  Then of course you come to make it, and you realise the fun is only just beginning!
Decisions, decisions…  I can see that the area I am studying on the original artefact, is in fact a ‘slip’.  It is encircled in Laid Work and finished off with a row of tiny pearls and after that you can see the tiny couching stitches holding a fine cord edging in place. 
However, the crown also appears on one side to be a slip, within the slip.  On the other side, strangely, it does not (?).  So with that ambiguity, I decided to make this repro crown as a little slip.
I didn’t want to change the design more than I absolutely had to but by this stage I realised I needed to save a bit of time.  Hence each spike is dealt with as a large filled area that will later be outlined in gold. 
Close up, this idea is not exactly to my liking, but as you will see further down this post, at a certain distance, it kind of works.   
I started this piece because I was drawn to the problem of the facial features.  I had read recently that the main difference between Opus Anglicanum and its European counterpart, was that the English used a circular formation for split stitching facial features. 
On reading that I immediately thought of Lucien Freud’s way of painting facial planes and married that up with what I had read in Jourdain’s book recently:
“the same crafts people that illuminated their books, also did embroidery”.
Once I thought of it like that, I decided I wanted to ‘draw’ Katherine’s face with thread.  I can see now that I may have used too many colours with her face but something unexpected happened.  That was that, the glossy golden silk of the crown was contrasting well, with the cotton split stitched face.  This was serendipitous indeed but its important to remember that the original would have been made entirely of silk. 
Beaded crown
Well, here is the finished crown.
Crown complete
Now onto the Laid Work halo!
I found the link to the black & white image of St Katherine that I’m working from, posted by Lady Christian de Holacombe at  The SCA, here.  Its about halfway down the page.
Furthermore, if you would like to see a huge close-up of an Opus Anglicanum male figure, published by the Metropolitan Museum (pdf download file), click here.  He appears on the second page of the documentNotice the intricate detail lavished on his nose.
DeVere Silk Suppliers
I’ll talk more about the silk I’ve been using next time.  As I’m expecting another shipment.

gotta go ppl !

1 comment:

  1. I've amended this and the subsequent post because I made a mistake in naming the particular Goldwork technique used on the Halo for this figure.

    As a consequence all the formatting is now lost on the text. (Great way to start the week ! )