Thursday, November 16, 2017

2017 Ornament Kit Going...Going....

  Time Is Running Out!

 ...for you to order your 2017 Limited Edition Ornament Kit, Winter Queen.  My ornament kits are only available for the year in which they were designed, and in this years case,  the materials were so difficult for me to get in quantity, I only have a very limited number of kits left. When they are gone, they are gone!  If you are interested in learning more about Winter Queen,  or ordering a kit ( I can gift wrap for free) you can do so here

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Glorious Finish!!

Well Done Jeanne A!
 Happy Monday! I was going to blog today the second half of my free day during teaching at the Bath Textile Summer School this past August....but a student emailed me a picture of her finished basket yesterday, and I just had to share it! I am so proud of everyone in class~ I really hope they enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed teaching....I think I may have indeed successfully spread my love and obsession with early beadwork to a few...planted a few seeds...and I am very much enjoying watching them sprout & grow!

Jan worked very diligently in class and after, and by Friday, had completed her basket frame. It looks fabulous~ so many possibilities!!

 To say I enjoyed my time in England would be a gross understatement... I loved it.  I will forever after now have tea & biscuits for the morning break, and tea and cakes for the afternoon breaks in all my classes. I have to say a special thankyou to Lynne & Michael for providing our gourmet treats...and to the ladies in class for making the tea!

 I must get me a pair of these magnifiers Ladye Mendy is wearing... they look so much better than my miner head gear I wear.

 The basket is a very involved project~ there are over 50 pages in the step by step instructions...too much to ever get done in a four day class focused on working up the Ladye and detached techniques for flowers.  Just about everyone in class got their Lady's torsos worked~ I love this picture~ what a happy group!

  We spent a morning on making peapods~ a common and popular element on many beaded baskets.

 And here is the glorious finished basket of Ladye Jeanne A!  Seeing a finished piece, the first from class, just makes my heart explode with joy! Jeanne said~

Here is the photo of my completed basket!
It may need the odd little 'tweek' but basically is finished. What a challenge it has been but so enjoyable and a sense of achievement. 

I think Jeanne has done a fabulous job~ you can click on it for a larger picture. Shes got plenty of flowers, and a little kitty cat bead...I love her butterfly at the top, and her colors are wonderful. Really, Really~ great job Jeanne~ I'm so proud of you!  I know you said you didn't think you would ever work another basket, but I hope you'll try these techniques on some smaller projects! Thankyou for taking my class~

Monday, November 06, 2017

Bath Textile Summer School Free Day!

 England Trip...What day is it? Part One
  One of the great things about teaching (or taking) a four day workshop at Bath Textile Summer School, is that there is a planned vacation day in the center of study on you can give your brain a time to relax, or catch up if you are behind. I scheduled a day tour for my 'free' day....and good grief, I was so tired by the time I got back, totally wiped me out but it was fabulous! We started with a trip to Wiltshire to see Stonehenge. It was really magical~ the stones so much larger than I had ever imagined....the field next to it was full of sheep that had just been sheared so that just added to the awesomeness!

  You may have noticed how hard it is to find a payphone here in the US,  now that everyone has a cell phone(not me~ Im still hanging on with all my might to not get one)...England is no different, and it was fun to see the ways the different villages have chosen to use their iconic red phone booths (or tardis)...this one is now an emergency defibrillator booth~ since this little community is a ways from the nearest hospital. If someone is having a heart attack, you can run to this booth and grab the portable defibrillator.

  After Stonehenge, we were off to Avebury to see the Avebury Circle....a Henge larger than Stonehenge, but much less publicized. On our way one of England's famous chalk horses is merrily galloping thru the countryside. They were made in the 18th c by removing the upper layer of turf & soil to reveal the white chalk underneath

 Along the way, my heart was skipping a beat every time I laid eyes on a thatched roof cottage~ this was the back of the cottage...but I didnt care~ what I was interested in is along the ridge line~ the two hares. Thatching roofs is a dying art~ the thatchers grow and harvest their own thatch...since wheat grown for food has pesticides that weaken the stalks. They cut it, bundle it, and then create works of art on top of already beautiful cottages. Many thatchers sign their art, with a thatched figure on the ridge line that is their signature, and theirs alone.
  I left this picture big so you can click on it to enlarge it~ the figures are totally thatched~ you will also be able to see the wire netting strung over all~ this is to keep the thatch in place. Not that it ever falls out, because it doesnt. Having a roof thatched is very expensive .. and while the thatch makes a great waterproof roofing material, the birds also like it to make their own nests out of~ so the wire is to keep the birds from unpicking it.

 We are arriving in Avebury now~ you can see the half buried stones of the circle jetting out in the village. These stones are made from same materials as those at Stonehenge, they have just not been shaped.
  Above is a pic of the aerial  view of the village~ the Henge itself is so large, its hard to tell from the ground its in a circle

 Oh my Golly. Everywhere I walked here was a perfect picture postcard. The gardens are all so green and beautiful! I am so jealous of all ya'll that get to live in England.

 Walking along to the church,  I look up and see not one, but two thatched roofs :::swoon:::::

  And then I realize, the ancient stone wall I am walking alongside, is thatched on the top as well! Truthfully speaking, I could have sat right here for the entire rest of the day..week...month....and been totally happy.

 St. James Parish Church has been on this site since 1000AD.  The aisles were added in the 12th century, the tower in the 15th century. I was thrilled to see the doors open~ who could see that and not go inside?

 Beautiful stained glass and woodwork would have been subject for plenty a photograph...but as I always look at my feet when I am walking, I was much more interested in what was below, than above.  I wish we would have had more time, I would have liked to really study the floor tiles/headstones~ some dating back to yes, the 12 century. This one from a young man, 19 years old, who died April 23rd, 1697.

 After our quick visit at Avebury, we were off to explore the Cotswolds. More thatched cottages....

Another chalk horse. I believe this is the Westbury Horse if I remember right.... it's just about time for lunch so we will stop in Lacock Village...and that, oh my....I will need a separate post for~

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

My Flat Top Casket Progress

Say Hello To My Little Friend......

 Cant believe a month has gone by already. Its November? Wow. My weekends have been somewhat productive~ not as much as I would like, but I'll take what I can get. You may recognize the Ladye in my cartouche from 17th c embroideries~ it was first thought by scholars that she was a portrait of an embroiderer, Elizabeth Coombe...but then when another similar was found...and then another...and another...she is now thought to be 'Flora'...unless of coarse she was drawn as the allegory Victory, holding a palm frond. I thought Ladye Victory was befitting of my casket, so I drafted this pattern myself using several of the early pieces...kind of a combination of all the bits I liked best.
One of the great things I like to point out about my figures, is that the Ladyes have full sculpted in, body down to the waist. This makes getting a period correct body shape a cinch~ as all one need to do is cover the form with either needle lace or beads.  I thought ya'll would enjoy to follow her making up~ so firstly, after her torso is covered, I made her first set of undersleeves and attached her far arm.

 The sleeve came next. When working up a stumpwork figure of any sort, always work from back to front.
The two outside portions of her gown came next. I'm super happy with the peachy colors I choose.

 The center of her gown was next, then it was time for her other sleeve/arm. Twilled undersleeves were made and attached~ the bottom to the panel, and the top portion directly to the sleeve before it was attached to the panel. Her collar and cuffs are right angle weave.

 A twilled scarf in the traditional shaded blues was seemed like I'd never get it long enough. I guess of all, this shawl gave me the most fits, trying to get it to drape right.

 Ladye got a necklace of real seed pearls, and we spent some quality time picking out a hair color.

 Before I could attach her hair tho, I had to make the flower coronet she wears.  If I can give any advice here, it would be that if you think you need 20 leaves...make 30...but better yet, make 35. White flower turned out huge and clunky compared to the others, so it got scrapped for blue one.  I like to lay all my pieces on my pattern roughly how they will fit. I thought I had plenty of leaves, and when I went to assemble the coronet, I was I would make a few more~ plenty I thought....go to add them and they would just get sucked up into I would have to go back and make more.

 I would add a few, then hold it up and see how it looked. I refer back to my drawn pattern and my actual panel often when I am making a detached piece.  Finally, here it is long enough to go on her head...but not quite yet~ I have to work the left side of her hair first

 With left hair complete, coronet gets attached round her pretty face.

 Laying the coronet up against the panel gave her waaaaay to much forehead, so after a placement that I liked, I went back and made a bead hair braid to cover the top of her head.

 Right side hair was then added to finish her. A little primping and sculpting of the wired leaves and she is just what I had envisioned.  I was going to work detached leaves on the left tree, but with her coronet, I think I will leave it as is, and just make a few simple leaves for tree on right.

As much as I am really wanting to work the cartouche...I think I will leave it for a bit... I have a rose garland planned for around the outside of it, so after I get that made, I will better be able to decide if I want a super busy cartouche border, or a plain flat worked one.  There are no adequate words to express how much stitching makes my heart sing~