Showing posts with label Pouch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pouch. Show all posts

Saturday, January 5, 2019

A&S Documentation

I spent the last several days writing up A&S documentation for two items I plan to exhibit at an Athena's Thimble panel later this month at Birka, an event in southern NH.

The first was the write-up for the pouch and goldwork I created last month. (See my blog entries in December for the Or Nue Heraldic Bee project.) 

The East has a very nicely codified rubric for judging A&S projects that gives entrants a clear expectation of how their project will be judged, and also helps ensure consistent judging from one project or event to another. I found a useful write-up with suggestions about how to write documentation for the East Kingdom A&S rubric. 

It had been some time since I last wrote up a paper like this, so it took me a while to get into the swing of things. But, based on the rubric and the article I mentioned above, I eventually came up with a documentation format that includes:

  • An introduction, describing the item
  • A picture of the item, in case the item and documentation get separated
  • The historical context, describing the historic precedent for the item or methods used in the art project
  • A list of materials used in my project, including description of they are similar to or replace period materials, and why any substitutions were made
  • The methods of construction, basically a description of how I created the item
  • The bibliography of works I consulted or quoted in this project write-up
Based on this, I created this documentation for the pouch project, and was pretty happy with the result.

Once that was done, I felt I was on a roll, and decided to write up the griffin embroidery sampler I created a number of years ago. This recently got a very warm reception in the populace vote at Autumn's Inspirations, but the A&S score on it was a bit low because I had no formal documentation accompanying it. I decided to enter the display at the last minute at that event, so I hadn't brought any documentation with me. 

The format I created above leant itself well to describing this project as well. I was able to write this up pretty quickly, as it was quite a bit simpler in A&S scope. It wasn't really ever created with the intent of entering it into an A&S competition, so I'm not terribly concerned about that. But, as I am planning to panel this for competency in Laidwork, the write-up will be useful. My documentation for this project can be found here.

It will be interesting to see how this documentation is received by the judges at Birka. I'm sure I'll get feedback that will allow me to improve both my future projects and future papers.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Or Nue Heraldic Bee, part V

In my previous post, I completed the gold and pearl work for my embroidered heraldry, and appliqued it to the fabric ground. Now it was time to fashion a pouch out of the fabric.

I patterned the pouch as an alms purse, or aumônière. These purses are commonly seen in 13th-14th century artwork, and there are quite a few extant pieces showing that they were often embroidered, decorated with beads and tassels. It is thought, based on the name, that they started out as a purse for the distribution of charitable alms to the poor, but that they eventually became a standard purse for carrying around everyday items. I liked the alms purse idea, however, as a way not only to display my work, but also to carry around artisan-related items, such as personal tokens to give out when I see others doing great A&S work, as well as cards with my contact info that I can give out when I meet new artisans and would like to connect. 

My aumônière is not based on any single piece, but was instead creatively inspired by a number of extant pieces. A great article can be found online here with a number of photographs and descriptions of period pieces. I also found quite a few on Tumblr using a simple web search, and put together an idea of what I wanted mine to look like.
Half-silk velvet purse with tassels at the Museum of LondonAnother purse in the Troyes Cathedral10th or 11thc Byzantine relic purseParisian purse from 1340, other side

The first step was to sew the pouch. The front and back pieces are made of a very pretty mulberry wool fabric. The liner is black linen. The inner and outer halves were sewn together, then assembled and blind stitched together across the top seam. I then buttonhole stitched four holes across the top of the front and back to hold the lace string that would tie the pouch closed. This was my first time sewing buttonholes like this, but I thought they came out pretty well. 




To create the laces and decorate the seams of the pouch, I used cotton embroidery floss (more durable and easier to weave than silk) to create a cord. The cord was whipcorded using the Viking whipcording method as described by Mistress Eithni on her website. First order of business was to create a simple distaff to hold my cording. I created this from a 3' long dowel and a popsicle stick, glued and tied together.

I then wound the thread (two skeins of each color) onto some wooden doll form bobbins I picked up at Michaels. Dangle these off the distaff, and you're ready to weave!

The weaving was pretty easy and goes very quickly. I was using a diagonal stripe pattern. The only difficulty I had was that when I would pause to wind up the braided cord or to let out more floss from the bobbin, I would sometimes lose my place and ended up cording, then having to undo and redo the cording when I realized the pattern had gotten messed up. But, in an hour or so, I had more than enough cord to complete the project. 

The resulting green and yellow striped cord looked perfect against the mulberry of the pouch, and was a very close match to the colors used in my goldwork. Here's a closeup of the resulting cord. I was concerned as I was whipcording that the resulting cord would be too thin, but when I got it off the distaff and compared it against the pouch, I found the size was just right. 


I blind-stitched the cord down covering the seams of the pouch. There was one smaller loop going around the pouch opening (where the inner and outer pieces were joined together), and a bigger one going around the outside seams. 

The outer loop started in the middle of the bottom of the pouch, and was extended at the top to create a "V" that can be used to hang the purse from my belt. A third loop was used as the drawstring. I used some silver beads I found to create a cinch on the purse string and to tip the laces, then created some tassels to finish off the laces.



A couple more tassels for good measure, and the purse was finally done! 


I'm very happy with the final result, and plan to present it at a panel for The Keepers of Athena's Thimble for competence in metal thread embroidery at Birka next month.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Or Nue Heraldic Bee, part III

As described in the last two installments on this project (see part I and part II), I had created an Or nue depiction of my arms, and decided to mount it to some very nice maroon wool I had to make a pouch. Now that the goldwork was done, it was time to affix it to the wool and complete the pearling and goldwork around the outside of the Or nue.

My first step was to mount one side of the wool outer pouch material to my slate frame. I read a few articles online with some suggestions on how to do this:
The last one in particular had a great suggestion about using pins along the hem of your fabric to help distribute/support the tension on the fabric across the width of the piece. I ended up using this idea. I first attached a linen strip to each of the two end pieces, and then affixed the embroidery fabric to the linen strips using a herringbone stitch. 

I then pinned the hem along the sides, and inserted the side slats. As I laced the sides to the slats, I used a backstitch just inside the pins. This really helped keep the sides straighter as I put tension on the width of the fabric.  Once the two sides were laced up, I pulled on one of the end slats to stretch out the length of the fabric as much as I could, and then inserted the cotter pins to maintain that tension. In the picture below, the longer laces at the top and bottom are the sides of the work (ie, the frame is rotated 90 degrees). The fabric has been hemmed over about a half inch along each of the sides, and the stitches were run through the hem.


Once the fabric was framed up, I measured out the center point, and used it to center the cut out goldwork on the wool, and pinned the work into place. 


I then used the same green silk to applique the goldwork onto the wool ground. The edge of the goldwork was a bit rough looking. I also noticed that in a few places, the white linen ground under the goldwork was peeking out from under the applique. To fix these problems, I  took a pass around the work in split stitch. Even though the edge will eventually be covered up by pearl purl, I liked how this really helped smooth out the work and made it look a bit more finished.


Monday, December 24, 2018

Or Nue Heraldic Bee, part II

I've been a bit busy and ill this month, which took some time away from my projects. I also had a delay while I waited for some more green silk to arrive, as I was out of the color I was using and had to order online. But, I finally was able to finish up the Or nue (shaded gold) embroidery of my device earlier this weekend. (See my previous post on this project here.) 

I'm pretty happy with how the Or nue turned out. I am also really happy with how my slate frame worked. Although I was still figuring out how to dress the frame properly, and basically just made it up as I went along, the tension turned out quite nicely. When I took the embroidery off the frame, as you can see, the tension remained quite smooth.


The next step was to figure out what to do with this goldwork, now that it's complete. I decided to make a pouch out of it, which I can use to hold tokens/favors that I can give out at events when I see artwork or A&S display entries that I particularly like. I found some maroon/purple wool in my stash that I particularly like and thought looked sumptuous and sturdy enough to support the goldwork. 


I also found some seed pearls in my stock and had ordered some gilt pearl purl, a kind of gold wire which has been wound into a springlike form. I'm planning to use these to outline the goldwork, and help smooth out the edges of the embroidery. At first I was thinking of using the seed pearls in the picture below, but then I found some that were a little smaller and were a better fit for the size of the goldwork. The teal is another wool that I had in our stash. I wasn't sure at first which color to use, but eventually decided on the maroon since the teal was a bit lighter in weight, and didn't contrast as much against the green in my embroidery.




Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Spanish Horseman Alms Pouch

While she was serving as the first queen of Northshield, I offered to Countess Bridei to produce some embroidery for her. She requested a piece with an horseman theme, given her interest in equestrian activities. I designed this piece, drawing on inspiration from medieval Spanish illuminations of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, modifying the image to show HE Bridei on horseback, riding into battle. The red and white striped circle was inspired by the arches in the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain, in keeping with the Spanish theme. The embroidery was done in silk split-stitch on cotton ground, and mounted to a maroon wool pouch. The pouch was hand-sewn, and has a number of tassels with silver beads. The tassels were whipcorded from cotton thread.

The pouch was based on a Byzantine relic pouch from the 10th or 11th century, described on this website.
Byzantine relic pouch, 10th or 11th century. 

The Spanish illumination that served as a the model for the horseman in the design:

The roundel blank I created from various elements adapted from Spanish illumination:


Close-up of the finished embroidery:

Completed pouch: