Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tassels and goldwork embroidery

Tax returns.... bah!

That's enough said about that current job!

I've been busy working away at the 'Scottish Tassels' as they've become known in our house. Each tassel has quite a few stages, and I work each stage before putting everything together. Here's a shot of the green ones, with mold covered, skirt and ruff added, but still awaiting the cord, the skirts to be trimmed and all to be steamed - which fluffs up the ruff and skirt and helps to hide any wires that are there - and finally the skirts to be trimmed again.

In between this, I have been transcribing medieval silkwomen's wills - I am convinced that some scribes charged by the word. The repetitive nature of some wills is really quite excessive. Nothing earth-shattering discovered yet, but of course, that will only happen by doing this type of work. It is nice to see these women leaving a fair bit of money for their church services and torches though. Very interesting.

I have also been working on some gold embroidery. This is for a 'top secret' project, so I won't go into in too much detail at the moment, but here's a picture of some lovely gold stars ready to be added to a velvet ground. The gold thread is couched to the surface.

Gold thread is certainly featuring quite strongly in my life at the moment. I've been asked to look at possibly doing a reconstruction of one of the Taplow bands - gold brocade tablet weave using a flat strip of gold. As is often the case when I'm asked to look at things like this, I end up wanting to try a small piece regardless of whether the project comes through or not. I will be doing a 15c design for a fine ribbon for the 'top secret' project as well, and I have resumed my research from a few years back, trying, yet again, to discover what the different types of gold thread that is mentioned in medieval documents could possibly be. I suspect I will never really know the answer to that of course, but I am developing some theories. You can read a summary, written quite some years ago at the Soper Lane site - Gold threads.

My obsession with tassels and gold threads hasn't stopped there! I found these fantastic tassels on eBay recently - really fine examples of the passementerie skills of the 19c. One tassel has some damage, and a very large part of me is tempted to take it apart - not only to repair it, but to see if the skirts are wired or woven, which is truly interesting. But, do I dare? Luckily, I've only had time to look at them and admire them since they arrived, not analyse them, or I may well have already taken the damaged one apart...

I also found a lot of 19c gold threads from France. Again, no real time to study them in detail, but they are wonderful. Actually, one reel is silver, so even nicer! These are super fine threads, and I am looking forward to identifying them with modern types - if at all possible.

Well, back to the tax returns. Aren't I lucky?!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, the gold and silver threads are beautiful! You're so lucky!


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