Textile Tantrums

I am obsessed with fibres, thread, cloth, paint and all things textiles! Unfortunately I am also a procrastinator extraodinarire who spends more time reading, surfing the net and admiring the materials than creating! I struggle to translate my ideas into textiles - hence the tantrums!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Medieval Madness

After some discussion on the online group 'Textile Challenges' about different ways of working I decided to dive in and start playing! I have filled a sketchbook with designs and scribblings on the theme 'Medieval' but had struggled to move forwards. Having gone through GCSE and A level art, along with City and Guilds I am indoctrined to believe that the design comes first. So without a working design I felt lost and unable to start sampling. After some encouragement to 'have fun' and 'break the rules' I have started making some backgrounds for my medieval designs.
Usually I work with bright colours and very simple stitch - this work is a complete change for me. Some bright jewel colours but lots of deep reds and purples with gold and black accents. In addition there is lots of layering and machine stitching. For that added glitz (that I love!) some samples have sweety foils...they'll be posted later!

So...onto the pictures....

I started with a black felt background and felted some wool and viscose slub fibres onto it using the embellisher (Pfaff). I then embellished a diamond grid design over this using purple funky fur wool (the type that has has long straggly fibres). I placed black chiffon over this and machine stitched over the diamond grid design using gold thread. I stitched alternate rows of diamonds - one is black and metallic red, the other is gold and metallic purple. I am now going to burn it back with a heat gun. I have added more stitch in some areas so that less chiffon burns back there (hopefully!!!!)

What you can't really see here is that the surface has become wonderfully dimensional - some diamonds are pushed back whereas others are raised. this has given me further ideas for exploiting this with quilting or stuffing. The design would also work very well with applique, sheers or cut back techniques. I am also looking at ways of breaking up the symmetricallity (is that a word?) of the design - cutting areas back could also work....layering same design but different colours over it? Or individual diamonds / different motifs could be laid over the top - separately or linked into another design - to give the idea of layers. I'm trying to represent the layers of rich ornamentation in gothic cathedrals such as Saint Chappelle in Paris (see below) but also the way that this contrasts with decay and the neutral greys of the stone.

Also found lovely example of this in a tiny section of Ely Cathedral...


  • At 12:33 PM, Blogger Carol said…

    This is beyond gorgeous! I totally and utterly love it. I really want to do a medieval theme myself, i have dabbled with it with my doors. I totally love it and if this is what you can do when you start playing, i can't imagine what you will do when you have played a lot. Well done you i am so impressed!

  • At 11:39 PM, Blogger Purple Missus said…

    What a fabulous piece of work, and the way you've captured it in the second photo it looks amazing. I should imagine though that the pictures don't do it justice. As Carol said if this was just the beginning of play, then goodness knows what you will produce when you really get down to it!!
    Love Ely Cathedral by the way. Such a good source of design ideas.
    Used this as one of my very first part one C&G pieces.

  • At 9:28 PM, Blogger downunderdale said…

    Leanne - it's looking great - so exciting to see you have now just jumped in at the deep end. - Dale


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