Wednesday, October 28, 2015

17th c Sleeven or Gummed Silk Caskets

My class at the Get Together..

 Ever since seeing this casket at the Dallas Museum of Art, I have loved the technique used and wanted to try it. The casket is accession no 1992.12, and you can find it directly here. There is a good photo of it that you can zoom way in close to really get a marvelous look at the silk 'paper' it is made from. I have been researching the ancient technique and its really not paper at all, tho the silk can be cut like a sheet of paper after it is prepared.  It is a relatively basic technique, just very time consuming to make.

  Randle Holme described it in the pamphlet 'The Acedemy of Armory, or a Storeouse of Armory & Blazon' , Chester, 1688....

   "Gum work, is by gumming of several colours of sleeven silk together, which being dry, they cut into shapes of leaves and flowers, and so tie them up upon wyres"

 I believe the method I came up with to make it using ingredients available in the 17th c closely resembles the period pieces.  I had been asked about several finishing techniques  I could demonstrate at the Get Together, so I came up with the above Christmas ornament that crammed as many techniques I could think of into one project. Making this little ornament offers practice in making gummed silk, painting silk satin with watercolours (the background fabric), gluing paper to silk, making paper finishing templates, papering a wood form, mounting silk to a form and applying trim.  As you will see in the next pictures, much fun and frustration was had by all!!
 The girls learned how to prepare silk roving and make small sheets of gummed silk.

 While the silk is drying, we experimented with painting silk satin with watercolours. If you study early embroideries closely, you will start to notice, many of the backgrounds have painted, or lightly tinted elements, all done with watercolours.  Janice's turned out really awesome, it looked like confetti and I didnt get a picture of it!
 Mendy did a great job with hers~ LOVE it!
  Stacey is working on a mermaid embroidery, and brought the mermaid thread palette set that I made her along with it~ its so exciting to get to see my needlework tools being used and loved~ makes me happy!
 Once the gummed silk dries, it can be cut into shapes and glued to the background silk~ think really awesome paper dolls!  I have an extra trinket box and am going to make it up in gummed silk
 The key is to get the roving as thin but as even as possible, with all the fibers traveling in the same direction~ this is what gives the work a very luminous effect. Its really fun to make
 This project is a real eye opener to the care that must be taken when finishing a casket. One needs to always think ahead and keep track of where the glue is at all times.  Mistakes will be made, and those are great ways to gain experience of how to fix them, so if something similar happens on a finished piece of embroidery, there is no anxiety attack and the students will have the tools and knowledge of what to do in that moment .
 The way I look at making an embroidered casket is like baking a cake. One can have a recipe, but unless they put the ingredients together right, their cake could be amazing, or not resemble a cake at all.  One can have a wooden cabinet to cover, and years of gorgeous embroidery finished... but all that will not mean a thing if they cant get the pieces mounted in a clean and orderly fashion. Tho finishing wont take near the amount of time it will take to work the embroidery, or make the cabinet, it does take a good amount of time and simply put, cannot be rushed in any step of the way.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2105

Balloons Everywhere!
 As the sun came up I realized that I was standing at the basket of Oons Wiekfe. (I made a point to video this balloon from start to takeoff for the children). First the balloons are laid out on the field
 A large electric fan is then used (it can be seen in the bottom left of the picture) to get the balloon to the proper state of plumpness. The pilots will give them a thorough walk thru to check for any rips or tears in the fabric, and to make sure all the interior cables are not tangled

 With the basket still on the side, the pilot will apply little shots of propane to heat the air and lift the balloon up off the ground...but not enough to actually take off yet. You can only image the heat that comes off a flame this big~ I was sweating where I was standing!
 Every time a balloon successfully lifted off the crowds would cheer and clap~ every time I would turn around there would be all sorts of new balloons taking off~ there were over 500 on Saturday morning when I was there~ and they were all off in a 2 hr period!

 Literally everywhere one looked, there were balloons~ so many balloons! I took over 700 pictures~ so have picked a few of my all time favorites to share.
 There are balloonists from all over the globe at the Fiesta~ Oons Wiefke is piloted by a family from Bristol England, while Humpty Dumpty comes from Kentucky
 I really really loved the carousel, but cant find it in my balloon directory
 Of coarse my all time favorite of all the balloons was the S.S. America from Corpus Christi Texas....I may need to make this one into a thread palette for me!
 So as I turned around, standing at the base of Oons Wiefke, I kept noticing more and more people behind me~ well no wonder, the bees were right there! I think they are the most popular group of special shape balloons at the Fiesta. There is a Mamma, Pappa and a baby, all three separate balloons.  Here you can get an idea of just how huge the balloons are
 Of coarse I had strict instructions from the children to not come home without a picture of Darth Vader (from Belgium). Can you hear the star wars music???? I can!
  Oons Wiefke lifting off, and you can see the Creamland Dairy cow and Wells Fargo stagecoach balloons in the background
 A most anticipated highlight of the liftoff of the bees is that the pilots turn them for the 'Bee Kiss'
 It really was an amazing thing to see~ if you would like to see a time lapse of the day I was there, or any other day of the Fiesta, just go here to their official website~ scroll down and watch the time lapse videos!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

2015 South West Caskateer Get Together

Time for a Road Trip!

  Just got back from the South West Caskateer Get Together~ what a fantabulous time! This is what I had packed to take with me, and hadn't even thought about my clothes yet! We held the gathering in Placitas,  just outside of Albuquerque and only about 30 miles from Santa Fe, NM.   Of coarse I had to stop by Todos Santos in Santa Fe for some chocolates on the way, and then it was up before the crack of dawn to go to the 44th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.   I have one word to describe that morning.....

  I took the West  side Park & Ride from the Intel parking lot and got to the Balloon Grounds around 4.45 am. It was still pitch dark, but quite a lively small amount of people at that time.  You can see main street in front of the arch there~ where they had all sorts of souvenir and craft booths, as well as food food and more food. I finally learned what Krispy Kreme donuts were...not because I ate one, but because I thought it was coffee for some weird reason and was quickly informed it was not! ha

  The field is a huge huge expanse of grass, laid out in grid form with paved streets in between for the balloonists to find their spots easily. One simply ambles around in and amongst the balloons the entire time they are preparing to take off and land! Its an amazing experience. It was the first time I have been to Fiesta so I was just wandering around in the dark and picked a set of folks to watch~ turns I ended up between two of the most popular special shape balloons there!  As the balloonists arrive they first test their huge burners~ I could feel the heat from them even where I was standing.

 A special treat of going to the Mass Ascension very early in the morning, is to get to see the Dawn Patrol pilots take off in the dark. Not only is it spectacular to see, but this gives the other pilots a reference to see the wind currents, and if the Dawn Patrol gets to take off, usually the rest are good to go for flying that day. The event is strictly regulated and if the winds are above 7 mph or conditions not right, they are not allowed to take off ~for safety of coarse.  I had never seen a hot air balloon at night before

 I had to play with the settings on my camera to try and get a good picture, as I was taking a video in the other hand for the children to see~ it was actually still pitch dark in this picture above. The balloons look like huge twinkling fireflies as they float gently up and around, it really was special to see!

 One of my favorites!
To start the day officially, the Fiesta balloon rises with the American flag as the National Anthem is plays~ a que to get ready, because then things really take off!