Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas!

I certainly seem to be running around alot at the moment - like most people! Still, it will be worth it in the end I'm sure...

The Sweeny Todd buttons have all been completed and delivered. Here's hoping that some go onto one of Johnny Depp's shirts - and that there's a decent publicity still showing them! haha. But that would be good!

I was asked the other day how I go about trying to work something out from a painting (in this case a ribbon trim). I found it wasn't that easy to put into words; I just 'do it'. But explaining this process has probably made me concentrate on it a little differently. The first thing I do may seem obvious, but I try to find out not only the age, but the origin of a painting. And if the painting is depicting anything in particular - for instance, medieval works are so often of saints, and therefore symbolism. The symbolism can interfere when trying to recreate something - and questions need to be asked. Likewise, with some portraits, there can be symbolism. Now, if all I am trying to do is to create something in a painting, this isn't always relevant, but its part of my process. (Perhaps this is simply because I love art...)

Knowing the date of a work can make certain thing easier. Some techniques aren't proven for a certain period - for instance crochet, or even the lucet, so that will automatically knock those off the list of possible methods. (or perhaps create whole new theories...)

Because I do have such an interest in narrow wares, and try out as many different techniques as I can, I usually have an idea of where to start. If, for instance, I think a painting may possibly be representing a plaited braid, I will look through reference material and all of my previous samples and trials to try to find the braid in question.

My next step is usually to try a sample piece. It can be surprising how different something looks when made up - especially using different weights of thread. I try to keep notes as to how I have done something - even if it wasn't what I was looking for, it might be for the next project.

Of course, there are probably hundreds of techniques that I have yet to learn, and it will be a lifetime's worth of work. But I do like the challenge of coming up with a viable solution to trim in paintings.

Whilst out Christmas shopping, I discovered some wonderful 'collectors' pages in WHSmith - the ones I bought were designed for coins, but of course they are perfect for buttons. I was really pleased with my discovery.

Oh, and I do have to say that if anyone wants silk, you really ought to try DeVere's. They are excellent - I have used them for years, and their silk is the closest I have found to historic silk. It is filament silk, with so much more sheen that spun silk. They also do some lovely cottons and linens, and worsted threads, and I can't recommend them enough.

I still have about half of my Christmas cards left to write, but did manage to finish my baking. I am hoping to be able to relax a little over the holidays - I usually end up making something, or trying something new out. But most of all I am looking forward to doing some reading. I don't seem to have alot of time to get really into a novel lately, so the holidays are the perfect time, and I will be reading Outdoors by Bailey Ferry, and taking lots of notes from my library copy of Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlocked by Janet Arnold before it gets returned in January. So that should about fill my time!

A very Merry Christmas to all of you who have stopped by - and a happy and healthy new year.

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