Thursday, 20 September 2012

Cranach neckpiece finished

(above) testing design elements, I rather liked the purple flower but it's too modern.

I've been playing with ideas for a begemmed choker a-la Cranach for a while now. I've debated making one out of femo so I can get the detail right but it'll be almost impossible to make it fit properly. I ended up using a wine-purple velvet ribbon as my backing. I then sewed brass plated accents which I've been acquiring from Spotlight for some time now. I further decorated with some pale pink pearls. The choker will eventually have a clip at the back joining the two tear drop shapes. I quite like how this has turned out even though it's not entirely like the Cranach ones.

(below) the finished choker. The gold-ish accents are flimsy enough to bend to the curve of my neck.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Cream and purple T-Tunic Finished!

The cream and purple t-tunic didn't exactly go to plan. The initial idea was to use the cream wool blankets as the main body of the t-tunic and decorate with dark purple linen and embroidery. Unfortunately as you can see in the picture below, I didn't realise there were moth holes in the wool until after I'd cut out the tunic. I have darned the holes, somewhat messily because they don't teach you this stuff in school anymore, but it's not what I'd consider a 'good' tunic. So, instead of using the dark purple linen, I used the left over purple linen from the embroidery sampler experiment. I stitched the sleeve bands on like Dash requested just so I could see how effective the stitch is. It's annoyingly painful to do (I have no patience) and I don't think it looks all that good. I might try something else on the next tunic, a dark purple and black one. In the mean time, he has a warm t-tunic to hang out in near the fire.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Paisley Roundup II

I'm still collecting ideas for my aari work. Paisley type motifs seem to be very popular even though I haven't found all that many dependable documented items. These three are a little dodgy on the dates but are still quite nice.

An old Ajrakh block-printed piece from Sindh, Pakistan in the V&A collection. I haven't been able to find it myself. I'm not sure how 'old' is old. I like the circular motif even though it's not a paisley.

(Original) From Riches to Rags: Indian Block-Printed Textiles Traded to Egypt 13th- to 17th-century Indian cotton trade textiles found in Egyptian sites. I've replicated the 'tree motif' which is quite a nice paisley too.

 (Original) From Riches to Rags: Indian Block-Printed Textiles Traded to Egypt 13th- to 17th-century Indian cotton trade textiles found in Egyptian sites. A simple teardrop paisley.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Paisley roundup I

I've started researching designs for aari work. There are many ideas out there but not so many medieval examples that I've found. For my first few samplers I'm going to think small so I've setteled on paisley / mango patterns which seemed popular in medieval India.

(above) A material fragement from Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. From: Indian Block-Printed Textiles Traded to Egypt 13th- to 17th-century Indian cotton trade textiles found in Egyptian sites Exhibit. No date is stated. It seems the Kelsey Museum is rather poor at showing dates for online items.

I've patterened four different motifs from this fabric, three paisley type  items, which when viewed in context are more likely representing trees and plants, and a rondel sort of thing. Stay tuned for more randomly inspired paisley patterns!



Monday, 10 September 2012

Aari embroidery patterns

I've been researching aari embroidery patterns. I've found a whole bunch of modern designs and designs created by various bloggers but not much in the way of medieval designs.

An Indian Heritage site has a number of simple motifs, however I'm not sure how old 'heritage' is.

I quite like these three designs. I think they'd make nice simple cuffs or trim on something.

To fix the apparent drought of medieval designs, I've started downloading documented images of cave paintings and such and copying out the designs. More on that to come.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Viking World - Review

 (above) A swedish pendant featuring a viking woman wearing a trailing dress and shawl. Beads hang from what is probably a brooch on each shoulder. Her hair is knotted behind her head. (page 114)

The Viking World by James Graham-Campbell, the 1980 version.

This book contains alot of good reference images, both photographs of artifacts and line drawings of the same. There are some schematic drawings of villages and women at work at bring all the information together in one image. A variety of topics are covered, from boat building to hoards and jewellery making. A large variety of primary sources are presented in this book. Well worth the read even if some of the conclusions are no longer up to date.

(above) Impressed gold foil from Norway of a couple embracing. The female on the right wears a long cloak. The males cloak appears to be held in a brooch over his right shoulder leaving his sword arm free. Page 114.  (below) 10th Century equal armed brooch from Birka. Page 116.

Strings of beads from Birka. page 118  Inner string of beads are made of imported crystal and carnelian.


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Macclesfield Alphabet Book - Review

 The Macclesfield Alphabet Book with introductions by Christopher de Hammel and Patricia Lovett
 ISBN-10: 0712358048

The Macclesfield Alphabet Book is a beautiful 15th century English manuscript which appears to be serve the purpose of a pattern book. It contains a range of alphabets including decorative initials with faces; foliate alphabets; a zoomorphic alphabet of initials, and alphabets in Gothic script. There are also large grotesque initials and a number of different types of borders (see below).

The manuscript was acquired by the British Library in 2009.

Grotesque on page 10

For those interested in reproducing medieval illumination this is an amazing reference. Images range from sketches, to outlines, to coloured peices and gold leafed sections. The range of alphabets has something to suite any work of art. The introduction discusses the Macclesfield Alphabet Book in terms of contemporary scribal work as well as other pattern books. The practitioners introduction has a wonderful discussion of the scribe and his tools. I was quite taken with the step by step process of creating a finished piece.


Coloured borders on page 45.