Monday, February 10, 2014

Beaded Stumpwork....

Just Don't Think About It....
So how does one wrap their mind around a 17th c stump work angel...but instead done in beads....when they have never done bead work or stump work before. Easy. You just don't think about it. If I would have stopped to think over how to do everything, well I probably wouldn't have even started.  My best advise to anyone, and I say it all the time is "Just do it!" 
  To make my design for the center panel, I first took a pen and traced around the lines of the angel I wanted to keep~ the major points of her face, her hands, arms and gown. Heck just studying her gown became very confusing..and then, do I give her feet? No feet? and what exactly is she doing with her arms outstretched???  I needed her to fit into the context of my basket....I wanted her to look like she was at home there...not cut out of a magazine and pasted in like a collage
   This is a first draft of my design~ I just wanted to get the elements in that I knew I wanted drawn on there~ herself, and secondly, the smiling sun we see on 90% of 17th embroidery....I am always cold and love when springtime comes and I can go sit out in the warm sun....the sun is a happy place for me.  I also love rainbows, and wanted to keep the idea of a encompassing wreath, like the Corning basket had a scant bit is also a feature I adore on the casket lids, the central ladye surrounded by a needle lace or silk purl wrapped wreath of a zillion little pieces.  I went back and forth quite a bit trying to decide should she have feet or not, as you can see
  Stumpwork, weather it be embroidered or beaded, looks crazy intimidating and horribly difficult...but if you think of it not as a finished piece, but as a bunch of little puzzle pieces to make and put together, its really thrilling and mad fun to do. That's how I decided to tackle it, one thing at a time, and in that moment, what I was working on was the whole plan...when I got that finished, on to the next puzzle piece.  Stumpwork is a series of elements added to a background, and built up over many layers to achieve a wonderful three dimensional effect. But I was not using thread and needle on a satin background fabric....I was using beads.      I needed some sort of something in the background I could attach my pieces to, to make up my center panel. To keep it airy and light, I chose to make a netted background that would blend in with the clouds behind my angel, and wouldn't be too horribly gaudy noticeable.
  To start, I took my pattern I drew out, and beaded a wire the width of it~ I started in the center, and worked my way out to the tapered oval ends.  Its just a basic lattice, once I got the first one done, I did one the same, but every other blue bead I passed the wire thru the blue bead of the previous row, to connect them all together.
  I used the 32 g wire from the kit for this, which passed thru my antique pearl beads nicely, but I had to dig around a bit to find a light blue bead I liked that had a large enough hole for two passes of the wire. I went up a couple of bead sizes as you can see, before I found one that would work, and one of the neat things about these early baskets is that they are not made all from the same size of bead...they are a hodge podge of all different types and sizes that really makes them interesting
    This is the first two, the center two rows complete.  The little loops I added to the ends to stitch it to my basket, as I didn't want the ends to show if I wrapped them around the center ring, over the lattice and silk wrapping

  While I was beading the lattice, my pretty girl was drying. I sculpted her head and hands from mache a little larger than my pattern, as it shrinks when it dries. She has two tiny black glass beads for eyes.
    Every so often, I would stretch and bend my lattice to the right shape, and lay it over my pattern to keep track of where I was and how large to make it. When I got to the oval ends, I just omitted the overlap to keep the pattern even
 The complete background netting, ready to go. It was set aside to wait for the clouds, sun, rainbow and angel to be completed before adding to the actual basket. For those, my plan was to use a vellum or card base shape, and couch rows of beads down flat onto that, a technique used on several 17th c baskets.

1 comment:

Barbara Brown said...

Too cool, do we get an installment tomorrow??
LY, Mom