October finds me busy in the textile studio as I prepare for my Pop Up Studio at the Compton Verney Textile Fair on November 7th. The splendid location of the British Portrait Gallery is the setting for my embroidery demos; the 16th century portraits, in all their bejewelled regal finery, have sparked ideas towards a golden palette.
Plus the added sunshine dazzle of the glorious autumnal colours has thrown my imagination into the realms of gold. Under the watchful eye of Queen Elizabeth 1 and other Tudor portraits, I shall be machine stitching an intricate golden lace for contemporary fashion.
The exhibitions at Compton Verney are always a wonderful source of design inspiration; the current show: Periodic Tables – The Art of the Elements interplays historic and contemporary artworks inspired by the iconic periodic table. The lustre of gold caught my eye in John Newling’s 2012 work: Value; Coin, Note and Eclipse, influencing ideas for creative embroidery enriched with the Midas touch. Another amazing work featured in the show is an installation by Cornelia Parker, entitled: Thirty Pieces of Silver (Exhaled), Sugar Bowl 2003; the artist has selected 30 silver-plated objects which have been flattened by a 250-ton industrial press, then suspended from fine wire.
The exhibition will be open while the Textile Fair is on, so well worth a visit.
For this first peek into my textile studio, I am sharing the stages of creating and developing stitch designs. If you are already familiar with my textile creations, as featured in the publication: Embroidered Originals (2010), you may recall how I love to research, and gather design references for mood boards. The photos illustrated show two mood boards from the ‘Gold’ collection, which are inspiring embroidery designs for my Pop up Studio at Compton Verney. These studio pin boards reflect the spirit of the collection, selecting a wealth of gold palettes, expressed in a diversity of images, materials, objects: antique patinas; burnished palettes; iridescent glints; pale tints of rose gold; flashes of brassy tints etc………. A collage of textures is the starting point: foiled papers and metallic threads; antique cords and braids; glass beads and crystals; vintage items: a petite sequinned purse, a 1940s compact . Delving into boxes of museum postcards, I choose: a detail from a painting by Louis David of Napoleon’s Josephine, resplendent in a gold embroidered gown; a 17th c embroidered jacket from the V&A collections – a reminder of the gowns glimpsed in the Tudor portraits (British Portrait gallery, where I will be working); a gilded page of the Book of Hours…… all ready to inspire a direction for stitch. Thinking of precious gold, I cannot resist opening my book of Klimt’s paintings to drool over the beauty of Adele Bloch-Bauer, shimmering in the midst of gold swirls and mosaic patterns. Into this golden recipe for embroidery, splashes of sapphire blue, claret, chartreuse are added using metallic stitchery or beadwork.
Golden threads have passed through embroiderers’ needles for centuries, and the tiny metallic spangles that bedazzled the Tudor court still beguile the fashionistas of today ( My favourite gold sequins are the tiny 3mm French ones, I have been using them to embellish embroideries for decades). In my studio, next to my sewing machine sits a tempting box of gold threads ( see earlier photo), ready to conjure a web of gold lace to inspire visitors at the Textile Fair on November 7th. With just a few weeks to go, I had better stop writing and get stitching!
I hope you have enjoyed this glance at my studio life. I look forward to sharing more from my Embroidery Studio in November, when the spotlight will be on the ‘Gold’ samples, plus some added sparkle with a stitch techniques.