Saturday, March 30, 2024

Diamond K Folk Art Online Academy

 Puffed Silkes~ 17th Century Inspired Padded Silk Interiors

Class begins 1 April!

Class Login information was sent last week in the emails, so if you are new to the Online Academy, you should have your particulars in hand. If not, there are links in the body of the email, so check your spam box. If it's still not there, email me and I can resend it. I have had students email me with their excitement to start, and let me say, I am just as excited. I cannot wait to see what ya'll create!

If you are interested, please click the tab for the Online Academy at the top of the page here to learn more about the class. This is a 3 month long course that I keep adding to, because hello~ I want your interiors to look FABULOUS!!!! Not just a casket interior~ but any box interior. The photo above is just an example of what you will be able to accomplish. The box on the left is the box I started out with, and the result is on the right. Some of the bonus lessons include how to make custom compartments, the 17th c technique for integral hinges on interior doors, and making velvet-lined ring compartments.

Class is work at your own pace.

Class starts on Monday~ but you don't have to! You can download and start when you are ready. (Though there is so much eye candy and inspiration in the history lesson one cannot help but get super jazzed about all the possibilities!!!!!!!)

Will this mean I will only be available to you to help you during course time?

Absolutely NOT. I know who is in class. If you download your lessons and get started a month from now~ or a year from now, it makes no difference to me.  I am here to help guide you through your process as long as I am still living!

Course material is written and downloadable in full lesson pdf's, with supplemental videos. I myself have Viasat internet and am not able to stream, so I try to keep videos short and to the point.

This course does not include instructions on how to make an octagon configuration interior.

Octagon interiors will be covered in my upcoming class~ Through The Looking Glafs~ 17th Century Inspired Mirrored Interiors

Sunday, March 10, 2024

A Road Trip to Wa D.C

 To Study A Truly Magnificent Gummed Silk Casket

at The Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center

I was thrilled earlier this year when a post popped up on my Facebook page about a micro exhibit at the George Washington University Museum in Washington D.C. that included this casket. The last location I had known of it was when it was sold at a Christie's auction in 2001. 
I have been looking for it to pop up ever since, and finally, I know where it went! It was purchased at Christie's by Lloyd Cotsen(president of Neutrogena Corporation), who traveled the world collecting textiles and embroideries with the goal of making them available for public study & education. When he passed away in 2017, he bequeathed his collection to the George Washington University Textile Museum. They in turn created the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center within the museum, to house only the pieces of his collection. 

I had a long history with this casket before I ever met it in person. I have a few pics from the 2001 auction along with a 1929 image of it with the garden displayed at the top of the pillars that I studied heavily when I was researching & testing my gummed silk techniques. There is only so much one can glean from a photo though, and honestly, I was not confident I would ever see it publicly again. 

I made an appointment to study it in person and it was not disappointing in the slightest. We made some new discoveries, like finding writing on the bottom of it....and I could finally see all of its elements up close. It was a super fantabulous study session and I am happy to say that it will not be the last time we are together~ Watch for some fun things happening with this casket & the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center in the future!

This casket is unique because the interior is one large mirrored cavity whose sole purpose is to house a wonderous, over-the-top, three-dimensional flower garden made of gummed silk. 

I have studied the Victoria & Albert Museum's casket T.23-1928 in person(above), which is another garden casket, but as you will note, it is more formal~refined and dainty...what I think of when someone says an 'English Garden'. This garden includes pressed paper, wax & gummed silk among other things.

 The Queen's Casket at Windsor with the shepherdess on top is three-dimensional, but all of its elements are needlelace and not gummed silk, so I do not place it in the same category as the garden caskets.

The Cotsen garden casket, as I refer to it, (T-1084a-b) is a wild naturalistic garden situated on a removable ground pad of thick green plush velvet stitch. Each and every flower or fruit the eye can see has been made of gummed silk. Forms of wood and wooden beads have been used as the bases for the fruits, there are some silk-wrapped purls used for foliage, and the center stamens of the honeysuckle are exquisitely fashioned from real feathers.

Though now (hopefully temporarily) stuck in place, the bottommost wooden tray slides out from its fitted slot and can sit atop the pillars. The garden can then be placed on top of the tray and be displayed with the lid open and front fully shut, as seen in the 1929 photo.

There are so many different flowers, I took a zillion photos and after two hours was still seeing new things I had missed seeing before. One can easily just get happily lost in this piece. When the mirrors were new, the garden would be reflected back from every angle and it would have looked like it could go on and on forever!

There is a pear tree in the center, and strawberries along this edge of the garden. The seeds are a bullion stitch over the gummed silk covered form. 

Each flower has been carefully recreated from gummed silk~ with the thickness of the sheets varied for the size of the flower. My favorite though is by far the honeysuckle shown above. The centers are the most tiny, delicate little feathers.  I think it's time to take my gummed silk skills a step further into the third dimension....keep a watch on this space!


Sunday, January 28, 2024

Diamond K Folk Art Online Academy

 New Skills Based 2024 Classes

I have several new classes planned for this year at the Online Academy, most are skills-based classes that will help you take your embroidery to an entirely new level.  My goal this year is to offer my students the tools to make their embroidery projects spectacular. While I love project classes, and will indeed have some of those too, a skill-building class can be applied to the thing or what of your own choosing. You can mold the class to fit your particular project now and in the future!
The first class that is open for enrollment now is 

I will show you how to make a custom padded interior to fit whatever receptacle you have on hand, whether it's an old cigar box or fancy casket. No matter how elaborate the embroidery on the outside of a box is, there is always a gasp of excitement when it is opened to reveal an interior just as beautiful(or perhaps even more so) as the outside.

There are a couple of bonus lessons that will include how to make partitions for custom cavities like the ones I made in the casket above for the tiny Penhaligons scent bottles, 

and another on transforming the inside of a drawer into a 17th c style ring holder.

If you are interested in learning my techniques for finishing a padded interior, you can click the link above to learn more about it!

Upcoming 2024 Skills Classes~

*Through The Looking Glass~ 17th Century Inspired Mirrored Interiors

*Windows To The Past~ Frames & Cartouches in 17th C Embroidery & How To Make Them

Thursday, January 18, 2024

A Casket & A Class...

 Scenes of Country Life, or Rural Pursuits Casket Finished!

Its been a whirlwind the past three years. I am a bit surprised that I was able to get this casket done...but on the other hand, as usual, stitching helped me through it. I started the interior in 2021, and thought it was an easy mark of planing it to be finished by the end of 2022. Then I got sick...was already a nervous wreck when dr told me I had a coconut size liposarcoma that needed to come out not next month or sometime in the about the day after tomorrow? So things changed, and I couldn't stitch on it for a while. You have no brain capacity for anything at that least I didn't. Slowly as I got better and realized I wasn't on the expressway to the other side, I started stitching on it again. At first, stitching gave me something to concentrate on so my mind wouldn't think about other things. Then, stitching gave my mind ease in reflecting and thinking about ...well...all the stuff I didn't want to think about. 

There is a mine of information just waiting to be discovered about the effects of the sounds of a needle and thread moving through a fabric. Perhaps it is that, combined with the repetitive motions of stitching, moving the arms up and down, that relaxes the spirit? I don't know, but whatever it is, I like it. I need it.

 I love how this casket came out. It is my Scenes of Country Life or Rural Pursuits casket, and it is everything I love about my childhood and then some. 

It is stitched on dutchess silk satin, entirely in flat filament silks. There are five cartouches with scenes in them that remind me of special memories. I am on the front sitting on the shore fishing(she also represents my Mother), and in another, milking a cow. Growing up there was many a day spent fishing. Sometimes we were fishing for our supper, so we sat there till we caught something to eat, rain or shine. I never liked going out in the boat to go fishing because one, I always had to pee, sometimes before we even got to the 'spot' to fish...and two, if I sat on shore, I could sit and play in the dirt while fishing. Maybe that's where I first learned to multitask? ha 

I learned to milk a cow at a little dairy farm in the first grade. I loved the sound of the milk hitting the can, and seeing the steam rise up from it. Can't stand to drink milk, but milk the cow, yes!

The surround holds flowers I know well~ my Mom always had the most beautiful iris and tulips in the yard~ I love red tulips and would always pick her a bunch for Mother's Day. She was always so happy that I picked them for her, and looking back on it now, probably secretly a little sad I had picked them. The frieze holds flowers and fruits that are special to me~ the turkey here is a nod to the turkeys I had here on our own farm. The central flower is a sunflower, Pip's favorite. Of course, we didn't have borage in northeast Washington...that is an homage to 17th stitchers

Filament silk is so wonderfully shiny, this really glows from all angles. Here you can see up close the faux tortoise shell trim I made for it. I love 17th c caskets with tortoise trim, and it was a favorite for picture frames as well, the dark colours really set off the embroidery.

The proper right side depicts my Pa hunting(then again, I could be me too). We never hunted waterfowl, this is a grouse that has just flown out over water ;)  There are two wild strawberries on the hillock behind him, and more up in the frieze. I set the traditional 17th c configuration of a dog chasing a rabbit to the center, but in all honesty, we hunted rabbits a different way~ while riding in a Toyota landcruiser with a pistol. The pansy represents all the little violas that always grow in our yard at home and that seem to pop up always without ever being planted

The proper left side is a plough scene. I think of my Great Grandpa Randall, whom I never knew, out in the fields...pretty sure he was on a tractor, but I didn't really want to stitch a green and yellow John Deer tractor on my casket. The little flowers in the frieze to the far right were as close as I could get to a 17th c representation of the matchsticks I loved to pick out in the woods in the spring. There are thistles in the center, a snail cause I adore snails and a rooster...I thought it was fitting he was crowin the sun up in the panel below. 

One of the challenges of this casket is the scale~ everything is so small. I scaled down my threads to get the detail I wanted in my stitching, as well as made others. I made this silk wrapped plate purl in two colours for the snail shell.

The top is a single large cartouche with me sitting under an oak tree...lazing away. I have been picking wild strawberries again and am holding one. Three suffolk sheep graze in the foreground, and my kiko goats Luke(white and brown) & Meisie(black) are relaxing with me. The windmill in the background is not from my childhood. I have always loved windmills depicted in 17th c embroidery, and when I saw some on a trip to Paris in 2017, I knew I was going to include it on something! To the right of us all is a big pond...this represents my most favorite place on earth~Potter's Pond, at home. I also love swans, so you can't have a pond without swans in it

The surround is a mixture of flowers in long and short stitch, and purl work using silkwrapped purls. Two silk wrapped kidskin parchment flowers ornament the cartouche

All of the stitches on this casket are flat stitches~ satin stitch, long and short stitch, French knots, long leg French knots ect

I loved stitching the swans

The back of the casket and back frieze are made of silk wrapped cards~ the figurals on the bottom from left to right top to bottom are green apples, thistle, acorns, single acorn, pink wildflowers, and huckleberries
The interior is dressed in blush pink silk, with secret compartments to the lid and otherwise, with a special portrait that sits behind the mirror. I will be teaching a class this year on mirrored interiors that will include instructions for making the octagon design...

 If you like the look of the padded silk interior and would like to make your own, my new class Puffed Silkes~ 17th C Inspired Padded Silk Interiors is now open for enrollment~ you can click on the header for the Online Academy at the top of the page, or here to learn more about it.

As excited as I am to see this finished, I am also kind of sad. It has been a good friend to me and kept me company for many hours! 

Friday, December 29, 2023

Atheneum for Dec...1828

A Farewell To The Year

 One of my favorite pastimes is to read a periodical for whatever year, as close to the calendar month/day that I am in at that time~ if that makes sense. I have a large library of early periodicals and enjoy being in the moment and reading something that so many others were reading on that same day, just a hundred or more years earlier. Last night I sat, had a cup of almond spiced tea, and read the December 1828 issue of The Antheneum, or Spirit of the English Magazine, published by John Cotton in Boston. The individual issues could be saved through the year, and then bound for a price of $3.50. If you did not want the six coloured plates of female fashions included, the price was only $3.00

I came across a very fitting poem I would like to share~ I have found many of the phrases quite relatable, and though you may enjoy reading it as well~ I wish all of my readers a very happy & healthy 2024~

A Farewell To The Year

Hark, friends, it strikes: the year's last hour:

A solemn sound to hear:

Come, fill the cup, and let us pour Our blessing on the parting year.

The years that were, the dim, the gray, Receive this night, with choral hymn,

A sister shade as lost as they, And soon to be as gray and dim.

Fill high: she brought us both of weal and woe, And nearer lies the land to which we go.

On, on, in one unwearied round~ Old Time pursues his way:

Groves bud and blossom, and the ground Expects in peace her yellow prey:

The oak's broad leaf, the rose's bloom, Together fall, together lie;

And undistinguished in the tomb, Howe'er they lived, are all that die.

Gold, beauty, knightly sword, and royal crown, 

To the same sleep go shorn and withered down.

How short the rapid months appear Since round this board we met

To welcome in the infant year, Whose star hath now for ever set!

Alas, as round this board I look, I think on more than I behold,

For glossy curls in gladness shook That night, that now are damp and cold.

For us no more those lovely eyes shall shine, Peace to her slumbers! drown your tears in wine.

Thank Heaven, no seer unblest am I, Before the time to tell,

When moons as brief once more go by, For whom this cup again shall swell.

The hoary mower strides apace, Nor crops alone the ripened ear;

And we may miss the merriest face Among us, 'gainst another year.

Whoe'er survive, be kind as we have been, And think of friends that sleep beneath the green.

Nay, droop not: being is not breath; 'Tis fate that friends must part,

But God will bless in life, in death, The noble soul, the gentle heart.

So deeds be just and words be true, We need not shrink from Nature's rule;

The tomb, so dark to mortal view, Is Heaven's own blessed vestibule;

And solemn, but not sad, this cup should flow,

Through nearer lies the land to which we go.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Embroidery FInished!

 Merry Christmas

Today I stitched on the final two little vellum rosettes on the top panel of my Scenes Of Country Life, or Rural Pursuits casket, so the embroidery is now complete. It was my goal to get it finished this year...well, last year really, that morphed into this year! I will take a few days off and enjoy Christmas and then glue the top, front, and front frieze panels onto the casket. Once that is finished, I can start making the trim, which I am really excited about~ it's gonna look fabulous!

I hope ya'll have a wonderful holiday season. Whatever your special day is, I hope it's filled with love & peace & happiness. If you are missing a special someone, I hope you make time to sit and remember them & the lifetime of memories they left with you. Remembering our loved ones and sharing stories about them with others, is how they live on forever~

Happy Stitching & Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Special 2023 Ornaments & Casket Update

 Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday today! I have added six precious hand painted ornaments to the Etsy store this morning. I think she turned out beautifully!
I have been working like mad to get these done in time for this holiday season. There are sooooo many coats of black to get them this dark and dimensional~ there are several 9 hour days of painting represented in this photo. I have had a heavy workload out in the shop. Between the painting and lacquering stages, I have been working on the top panel of my Scenes of Country Life casket.

The center panel is now complete and I have finally started the surround. It seems like I have spent eons on this casket~ its never ending! I'm still not confident that I will be able to get it finished this year, but I'm certainly going to try. You should be able to click on the photo to make it larger~ I love how the Suffolk sheep came out...the black goat is my Keiko Meisie, and her mate Luke is in white with brown splotches. The windmill in the background I saw on a trip to Paris, and swans, well, anyone who knows me knows how much I love swans! I was going to try and draw in a loon as well, but I will save them for another casket. 

If you want to follow my stitching journies, I post daily on Instagram~ just search #diamondKFolkArt or check out my page~  rlkinnison1

Happy Stitching!