13 Apr 2017

Chapter 4 - Relief paper surfaces with starch paste

I prepared a starch paste with plain flour and water to which I added powdered Brusho ink (dark brown, orange, leaf green, turquoise, ultramarine, purple, bright red). I worked on canvas grain papers (300g/m²) and pressed them under heavy books to get them flat again.
Sample 1 - 21 x 15 cm
One layer of starch paste and brusho, gold paintstick on reliefs
Sample 2 - 21 x 15 cm
Two layers of starch paste and brusho, gold paintstick on reliefs
Sample 3 - 21 x 15 cm
Two layers of starch paste and brusho, iridescent bright bold acrylic paint, copper painstick on reliefs
Sample 4 - 17,5 x 11 cm
Two layers of starch paste and brusho, copper paintstick
Sample 5 - 17,5 x 12,5 cm
Two layers of starch paste and brusho, iridescent bright gold acrylic paint, copper paintstick
Sample 6 - 21 x 15 cm
One layer of starch paste and copper acrylic paint, golden sweet paper glued with PVA, metallic rub-on
(mixing starch paste with acrylic paint tends to create more cracks, I suspect it is due to different speeds of drying)
Sample 7 - 21 x 15 cm
Two layers of starch paste and brusho, copper paintstick on reliefs
Sample 8 - 10,5 x 17,5 xm
One layer of starch paste and brusho, gold painstick, little strips of golden sweet paper glued with PVA, copper painstick on reliefs
Sample 9 - 16 x 15 cm
One layer of starch paste and brusho, gold painstick on some reliefs
Sample 10 - 15 x 21 cm
Two layers of starch paste and brusho, gold painstick on some reliefs
Sample 11 - 15 x 15 cm
One layer of starch paste and brusho, gold painstick and shapes of golden sweet papers glued with PVA
Sample 12 - 13 x 17,5 cm
One layer of starch paste and brusho, iridescent bright gold acrylic paint applied with a soft sponge

It was fun to cook the starch paste. It is cheap and non-toxic. I will use it again in the future even though I have ready-made gels on my shelves. I wonder whether it is possible to add sand, twigs, dry leaves...to this thickening agent.  
I like the way how this technique creates visual depth and texture. 

Chapter 3 - Underside couching

TRADITIONAL SAMPLE OF UNDERSIDE COUCHING

6 x 2 cm - Gold thread on linen
The reverse side shows the green perlé cotton I used and the gold thread that I managed to pull through (from time to time...)

UNDERSIDE COUCHING HAND STITCH
At first I used a fly screen but I found that when I pulled the stitch with the perlé cotton, the mesh would not resist. I doubled the fly screen but this time I found it was too harsh for my eyes.
Informal sketchbook - Page 4 First try

Then I picked a cotton interlock canvas 10 count (from Oliver Twist) and it definitely helped the hand stitching. Furthermore I could easily paint it with acrylic and I could use the stamp I had curved.
Informal sketchbook - Page 3
Sample 2 - 2 floss of metallic stranded thread
Reverse side shows the green perlé cotton
Sample 3 - Elasticated golden thread
I wanted to experiment with this elasticated thread and this time I nearly felt comfortable  with this troublesome underside couching.
Reverse side shows the green silk thread
UNDERSIDE COUCHING MACHINE METHODS

Informal sketchbook - Pages 6 and 7
Sample 4 - 8,5 x 9 cm - Black stranded cotton on heavy linen
At my first attempt, the tension in the bobbin was slightly too loose for what I wanted to achieve. I felt happier with a tighter tension. I changed the length of the straight stitch to get a lozenge pattern.
Sample 5 - 12,5 x 4,5 cm Lozenge pattern
'Exacting' is really appropriate : the cable stitch reveals any distraction on the machine.


Sample 6 - 5 x 4,5 cm + fringes
I changed the starting point
Sample 6 - Copper metallic thread on fine linen
- 5 x 3 cm : I changed the width of the zigzag (0.9 to 5)
- 5 x 1 cm : I changed the width of the #27 stitch
- 5 x 2,5 cm : I changed the width of the zigzag (0.9 to 5) and alternated every two rows to get a brick pattern
Sample 7 - Copper metallic thread on fine linen

- 3,5 x 6 cm : I changed the stitch from straight stitch to #28 to get a herringbone pattern

Underside couching was totally new to me. It made me understand better how invaluable Opus Anglicanum was. Nevertheless I definitely prefered to work with the machine to experiment. 

5 Apr 2017

Chapter 2 - Metallic embroidery related to Opus Anglicanum and ecclesiastical embroidery

COUCHING WITH METALLIC THREADS - HAND STITCHING

I choose a black linen to stitch on and backed it with a woollen fabric.
Sample 1 (A4) - Hand stitching
1a - 10 x 8 cm
Hand-made cord made of string and metallic thread, couched on rows of copper ribbon with green perlé cotton
1b - 4,5 x 6 cm
Rows of stretched purl, twisted, couched with perlé cotton (2 shades)
1c - 8 x 7 cm
Thin metal thread couched with green stranded cotton (buttonhole  stitch) couched on a thick metallic cord
1d - 7 x 7 cm
Braid made of metallic cords, couched down in a spiral with wool

1e - 3 x 3 cm
Twisted cord made with machine-made cord (perlé cotton and copper thread) and green purl, couched down in a spiral and a row of thin gold thread around the shape.
1f - 3,5 x 6 cm
Rows of pearled gold thread couched with green perlé cotton and golden thread
1g - 5 x 5 cm
Elastic gold metallic thread couched on a cord made of string and green silk


For the next sample I used a golden markal and a home-made stencil inspired by a foliage pattern to add some interest to the black linen background.
Sample 2  (A4) - Hand stitching
2a - 7 x 7 cm
Several purls couched on a crashed coffee cap

2b - 9,5 x 4 cm
Rows of gold cords and machine-made cords couched with a green metallic thread
2c - 7 x 7 cm
Gold threads couched on a metallic ribbon with green stranded cotton
2d - 9 x 8 cm
Strips cut into a tomato tube, accordion folded then stretched, couched with a green silk thread

COUCHING WITH METALLIC THREADS - MACHINE STITCHING


Sample 3 (A4) - Machine stitching
3a - 12 x  12 cm
I used a square framework of a lampshade to wrap threads (variegated metallic stranded cotton and golden stranded cotton) then I machine stitched to couch the wrapped threads onto the background. (stitch # 27)
3b - 10 x 10 cm
I weaved in the square framework some elastic golden thread, silver metallic cord, green metallic cord and purls made of telephone wire. Then I free machine stitched (# 27) with a variegated metallic thread.

3c - 8 x 8 cm
I used a small round embroidery hoop to hold the metallic variegated threads then I machine stitched with a golden metallic thread
3d - 8 x 7 cm
Very stretched purl and purl wrapped around the square frame, automatic pattern (stitch # 108) and zigzag stitch
3e - 8 x 7 cm
Golden purl and green purl, free zigzag stitch with a green silk machine thread


Working with metallic threads was a totally new experience to me and I enjoyed experimenting with both conventional and unconventional items.

29 Mar 2017

MODULE 2 Chapter 1 - Historical Study of Metal Thread Embroidery in Historical Periods and Other Cultures

In November 2016 I had the opportunity to go to the Victoria and Albert Museum to see the Exhibition 'Opus Anglicanum, Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery'. The book published to accompany the exhibition and the V&A website were of great help to further my historical study on Opus Anglicanum.

Page 1 (A3) - Introduction
Page 2 (A3) - Typical designs
Page 3 (A3) - Typical designs
Page 4 (A3) - Figures in geometrical frames

Page 5 (A3) - Figures in Gothic arches
Page 6 (A3) - Colours
Page 7 (A3) - Techniques, Split stitch
Page 8 (A3) - Underside couching
Page 9 (A3) - Expressive faces
Page 10 (A3) - Birds