Tuesday, October 31, 2017

May Ye have more Treats than Tricks this eve!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Bath Textile Summer School, Day 2

Class, the Abbey & Roman Baths~ all in same day!
 Second day in class went by like a flash. My students were so polite and attentive~ I had worried that my class of 15 would be too large and not allow me enough time to get round to give each their individual attention, but I think it went well. They caught on and progressed nicely with their Ladies~ they were just a joy to teach and I am so much looking forward to seeing their baskets!

On my lunch I snuck out a bit to enjoy the rest of the Holburne Museum~ they really have a wonderful collection. I particularly like to study original paintings to further my fashion research. Extant children's clothing is really so scant, that I turn to paintings alot to study how particular pieces were originally worn on the body, and to help learn more about the pieces I have here at the Lady's Repository.  I was quite drawn to this painting for details of her gown...but then when I read more, she became even more special.
Firstly, the painter was herself a Ladye, Angelica Kauffmann~ and I dont know many female 18th c painters. But her subject was Henrietta Laura Pulteney,  a name which was familiar to me from the beautiful Pulteney Bridge....and in reading the placard further, Henrietta and her father created Pulteney Street, and the gardens the Holburne Museum is located at.

After class, I visited the Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths~ which share this great courtyard. 
One of the features on the outside of the Abbey that I loved were the Angels climbing down the ladder from Heaven....I want to find a way to incorporate them into my embroidery.

Inside the Abbey is peaceful, yet breathtaking

The Abbey is much older than the ceiling, which was done in fan vaulted stonework in the 1860s. Click the link to the Abbey above and check out the history of it, its really quite remarkable.

 Across from the Abbey,  are the Roman Bath's & Pump Room.

 The entire city of Bath was founded round the Roman Baths~ people would come from far away to take the waters and try to heal their ailments. What is the second level in the picture above, is present day Bath ground level...but the spring below was ground level in Roman times when the temple was built up around the natural. mineral spring

Bath Abbey can be seen behind

 I cant remember if I ever showed the travel box I made for the Bath Arbor Basket on the blog. I needed something to carry it across the pond safely in, so I made this maple box. I painted the rose garland on the lid before I left, because I didnt want it to look so plain for one, and another, to prove what I was bringing home with me, was mine and not something I bought in England. Of coarse I had a vision of painting little vignettes of special places along my trip on the lid and round the sides. (I am no stranger to my visions and reality not matching....)

While I love to paint, there are things I hate painting and so try to never paint....portraits are number one....and number two, is water. Water is my nemesis.... I really really do hate painting water! 
 So I was trying to decide what should go on the lid of my box, and I thought to myself, what is the first thing I think of, my most special moment in Bath? It was laying my own eyes on the Pulteney Bridge with Heike...so before I even realized what I was thinking, the bridge was already on the box.

As I got to the the reflection below the bridge, little devil on my shoulder was dying laughing at me~ look at all that water he says....and not only water, but a weir to boot!  It turned out hideous...I think it looks like a big shark mouth with layers of teeth.....HA. But what is life if one cannot step back and have a good laugh at their own expense....I knew I should have painted the Holburne Museum on the lid.....

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bath Textile Summer School, Day 1

First Day of Class
 Time for class! After getting my students registered,  there was no time to waste, as I had arranged for us to go up and view the Holburne beaded basket , up close and personal, out of its display case with curator Catrin Jones. 

  Catrin not only brought up the basket, but a casket and other 17th c embroidery she thought the students might enjoy. It was an extra special treat and I appreciated it greatly knowing how busy she was.

 After our viewing it was back to the Clore Room to get busy!  My workshop was four days, Monday and Tuesday, with a day off on Wednesday to let the brain and eyes recoup... then class on Thursday & Friday, 8 hours a day. It may seem like a long time, but its not, especially when working a large project like the Bath Arbor Basket. Students all received a kit with full step by step photo instructions on how to make their own basket...53 pages worth of instructions! Class time would be spent focusing on working the Ladye, and going over in person the techniques for working the frame & flowers. To me, there is nothing like seeing something done in person, no matter how good the written instruction is. 
I started class off with a history of glass, and beads in the 17th c.

This is some of what was in each kit. I hand made each and every frame, as well as sculpted a Ladye figure. 

  I sculpt each figure by hand, directly to fit the embroidery pattern. The afternoon hours of class today were spent walking the students thru the basket's frame construction~ covering the wire with wadding, silk and then wrapping with beads. It was really a great day~ my students were the BEST!

 After class, on the walk home, I stopped by VV Rouleaux, a wonderful ribbon shop that just opened a new store in Bath.

  Amazing ribbons....and feathers! One cannot enter in, and not come out with something....

 I very much enjoyed my walks home after classes...even though it was most all uphill!  Bath is an amazing city....I think I read there are 80,000 residents...but it didnt seem like that many to me. 

  This was the view from my bedroom window~ Thomas Gainsborough stayed at the beautiful house in the center while he lived in Bath in the 1760s

Lynne & Michael Roche, who run & organize the Bath Textile Summer School, we so kind and generous to host me while I was teaching. They put in endless hours of work to make the Summer School a success...they would bend over backwards to accommodate a request. They have both done an amazing job~ something like the Bath Textile Summer School anywhere else would take an entire team of people to organize~ I dont know how they do it. I'd like to publicly thank them for making my experience so enjoyable and stress free. I must also thank Flossie, my new favorite little fur angel~ just the sweetest lil thing on the planet~ for sitting happily on my lap...

 And Freddy~ just the most gorgeous Bengal I have ever seen....he was doing me a great kindness to let me take his picture.

A most wonderful supper to end a most wonderful day~ thankyou Michael & Lynne!

Friday, October 13, 2017

2017 Limited Edition Ornament Kits Ready to Ship

Winter Queen Going Fast~Only 29 Left!!
 Golly! All preorders have now shipped, so check your email for tracking numbers! If you are pondering getting a kit for this years limited edition ornament, I have just 29 left.   Thats not 29 in stock...thats 29 in stock, ready to ship, and only 29~ there will be no more! I posted here a bit ago for the perorder explaining about the limited, very limited status of the ornament this year.  It is such a beautiful ornament!
 I designed it after Queen Elizabeth Stuart's early 17th c gloves, seen above. The silk embroidery on the rich blue silk background is breathtaking in person

 I left these pictures large so you can see the details~ all threads are real gold with just the right amount of spangles to really flash in the lights of the Christmas tree!  This years kit is mounted a different way than last years~ there is no stitching over card or pricking~ YAY!
There is purl work...as well as an or~nue flaming heart.

 Borage, pansies and tulips in silks....the ornament is dated for this year of coarse~
 Real gilt over silver tinsel that will tarnish ever so slightly over time....and pearls~ real seed pearls...a whopping 31 inches of real cultured seed pearls are in each kit!

 There are rough purls, bright check purls, and 2% gold Elizabethan Twist...the highest percent gold thread available. A Queen demands nothing but the best of materials~

 And what Queen doesn't have secrets?  Winter Queen has her own secret~ she is a fully lined treasure box, if one so desires to finish her that way.

 The lining silk is one of the scant items not included in the kit, because I used a scrap of a old silk tie, and everyone has their own preference!

The pearls, (along with the blue dutchess silk satin and tinsel), were what really made this kit limited. Pearls this small are extremely difficult to find in good quality~ I scoured the earth, wheeled and dealed and brought you some of the prettiest, tiny, hand drilled pearls ever. Ya....thats right, each one of these lil buggers is drilled by hand...actually on the gloved fingertip of the craftsman.....just amazing.
If you would like to order a kit, or learn more about it, you can do so here

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bath England, Day 1

How Many Impossible Things Before Noon???
 Sunday we were up super early again, said goodbye to our townhouse in Knightsbridge and were off to Paddington Station for our Great Western Railway trip to Bath

  Bath~ the most gorgeous city in Somerset! Since I was teaching all week, and had a tour scheduled for my off day on Wednesday, Sunday was really the only day for me to get out and see Bath. Lynne & Michael, the perfect host&hostess, were waiting for me when our train pulled in the station. We arrived somewhere around 0900 am.
 Once settled in and briefed on what the plan of the day was, I was off to the Fashion Museum~ the only time it was open that I was not teaching! Located at the Bath Assembly Rooms, it is an absolute gem of a museum. Good things definitely come in small packages. Currently they are running a 'Lace in Fashion' exhibit I wanted to see, but I also came to see some particular 17thc embroidered pieces of clothing....that is, if a person could even get thru the door! Right at the entrance is the Spence collection of early gloves....just amazing!
  I would have liked to have seen more children's clothing in the exhibit, but this 17th c embroidered jacket made my day. This was what I had come to see here. After the Lace exhibit, I met up with a Dear friend from Germany who was taking my class. She had been to Bath before, so took me for a walk about.
 Not far from the Fashion Museum is the Circus. No...not a circus with animals~ the circus is an entire circle of homes~ the architecture is very unique, and at the time in the 18th c was new and brought in people from afar to live there....its just so huge I could not even begin to get a good picture of it all.

  About a block from the Circus was the Royal Crescent.  Oh . My. golly. it was amazing. Click on the link to learn more about it!  One just cannot appreciate the complexity from my pictures~ so I went and got an aerial  view from the interweb...

The Circus is on the right,  and the Royal Crescent on the left.

 One of the beautiful little courtyards at the Circus

  Everywhere I looked in the city was as perfect as a  picture postcard. This is a peek at the Roman Baths...they stay open late, so a visit to them after class one afternoon was planned.

Just across from the Roman Baths & Pump Room was the Bath Abbey

 I don't know if these spikes were meant for keeping birds, or people from sitting there....which didnt really matter as it worked well for both!

 We walked thru the Abbey Green and there was a little stall selling the most wonderful picnic hampers dressed with china and silverware~ THE most amazing little things~ the English know how to picnic!

  Its fun to imagine what all this olde tree has seen~ I wish I spoke tree...

 Bath has the most wonderful Tea Shops & Rooms. I'm serious when I say, I could certainly be right at home here for the rest of my days

  No visit to Bath is complete without a  visit to Sally Lunn's  . We didnt eat there, but we did go to the Museum within and saw how she made her famous bunns

  From Sally's, we walked out to the gardens by the Abbey Hotel, and this is looking up the River Avon to the Pulteney Street Bridge. From this view, it certainly looks like a bridge, but it is completely built over, so when you are actually on it, it looks just like any other shop lined street in Bath. Looking down it, the Holburne Museum is at it's end. The weir is seen in the foreground.
I am so blessed to have had such a wonderful friend to show me around the city~ thankyou so much H!
 It was getting on to be lunchtime, so H treated me to lunch at a little cafe overlooking the weir~ if you look in the picture of the Pulteney Bridge above, its to the right down the steps, where all those people are. As if the day want perfect already...when I pulled out my chair to sit down, there was a one pound coin! I felt like Charlie on Willy Wonka....tho I didn't go buy chocolates with it, its saved and will forever have a special place in my casket! 

Had to get back home after lunch to get things ready in my classroom at the Holburne Museum for my class at the Bath Textile Summer School. Super excited to get started!