Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hand Marbled Papers & Silk Linings....

What to Choose?

   Decisions! Decisions!   I have been trying to decide what paper to pair with what silk for the lining of my padded mirror case~ I have so many favorites its just so hard to choose one combination!  I thought I would share some of my favorites here on the blog~ some that I really liked but didn't make my final cut! This first one I think will most likely be the lining of choice for my double casket, I just love love love the pink silk taffeta and coral silk velvet along with this paper~ the little bubbles are lined in gold flake so will have to use the gold stamped edging paper instead of the silver I had planed on using...which is probably a good thing. I have a bad habit of sticking to things I like and not wanting to try anything new~ if we go out to eat..I always order the same thing~ they don't even give me a menu anymore!  Same for metal laces and trims, I always prefer silver over gold for some reason...so using this pink paper will force me to try something new!
   Now here is a close second favorite~ I adore this green silk taffeta and just HAVE to use it on something! This scrap I have left from a doll dress, but it should be enough to line a something....or pad a something... or make a pincushion for something....just don't know what yet!  The paper its laying on has so many wonderful colors, I really like the green with the yellow...and I really like the green with the rust orange in the bottom left hand corner~ when I am purchasing hand made marbled papers, I always choose the largest paper they can provide, it makes for so many more possibilities and 'fussy cuts' all out of one sheet with the same color values
  Pictured here is the wode blue taffeta and velvet available in Tricia's shop~ I love it with these very 'un~blue' colors!  Don't think that because you have one color of silk that you need to look for a paper in that same color family~ opposites do attract and can look so stunning together!
I just had to include this last paper cause I love it so much~ the scale is way too big for my case or a casket...but perhaps it could make its way to the lining of a casket case? Who knows! I thought you would enjoy seeing it tho~ and as for what I actually picked to use for my lining...well I'm keeping it a secret cause its a color I don't think I EVER would have picked if it wasn't sitting right in front of my nose already! I'll be sharing it soon~

 Here is the link to the Thistle Threads silk selections here if you are interested~ marvelous 17th c period correct colors~ just yummy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

17th Reproduction Padded Mirror Cases

   There has been so much interest in my case I have decided to offer them for sale. It takes me about 4 weeks to make one. I will fill orders in the order they are received~ if you are interested in learning more about them and what is offered, I posted them for sale in the Diamond K Folk Art Blog Shoppe~ just click on the link at right in the sidebar. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me and ask!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

17th C Padded Mirror Cases

For A Prized Looking Glafs
   To gaze upon one's own reflection in a looking glass was a privilege afforded by only the affluent upper glass and Nobility in the 17th c , and actually well into the 18th.  King Louis's (XIV) Great Hall of Mirrors he had installed in the Palace of Versailles drew visitors from around the world, no one believed it possible~ to be so vain to have a look at ones self from all angles...and that it was physically possible in the first place. Mirrors were a marvel in the 17th c, and so highly coveted that cases such as these were made to protect them.  The photos above and below show a case sold by Leslie Hindman~ you can see the auction here
   You can see they are quite flat, set up on marvelous bun feet, with a narrow padded compartment within that protects the mirror held within the lid
   What is amazing, is that all of the examples I have found, save for one, are this same design of King Charles & Catherine~ the designs are so nearly identical that one could speculate they were sold as kits
  The designs are beaded on a silk satin ground, just like many of the beaded baskets of the same era

  The case above is held at the Art Institute of Chicago, you can see it here

   And this one, at Knaresborough Castle, you can see it here~

   My good friends at the Maidstone Museum in Kent hold two wonderful examples~ this one above still a case, you can just see the fluted bun feet sticking out the bottom ...
 And this one, nearly identical, has been unpicked from its case and stitched together into a large panel .  If it weren't for the subject matter, I may have not realized it was once cover for a padded mirror case...which begs me to ask now, how many others have been unpicked and framed up? The large spacious area of the lid just begs for something large and involved to be worked upon it....and as we can see blow, not all  of these cases were done up with the King & Queen..... (my theory is that a mirror case would have been the most precious of gifts to myLadye for her wedding day, hence the betrothal /love couple design on the lid)
 Martha Edlin's padded mirror case held here  at the Victorian & Albert Museum shows both beadwork and counted work on a silk satin ground, along with her initials and date of 1673.

 I particularly like this beadwork panel from a past Skinner auction (here)   , and think it would look
 f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s- as the lid of a padded mirror case....and along that note,  why bead one at all?  I do think it curious why I have yet to find an example in raised stumpwork, as the form simply begs for it and is so well suited at a finished size of 14x17".
   I am very excited to announce that I have been working hard these last few months on perfecting my own reproduction of a padded mirror case, and that I will be offering them for sale next week as a fundraiser for the Museum for those would would like to bead or embroider their own. Based on the dimensions of the originals, each is hand made in pine, one at a time, by myself, for a wonderful tabletop piece that no 17th c Ladye would ever want her dressing table to be without....

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mommy Scouts.....

I Love Being a Mommy...

   There is no greater joy in the world for me than being a Mother...absolutely nothing compares!  I just had to share this little sticky Pip left me this weekend~ it was on my desk Sundaye morning.... it reads

 'For Mommy Scouts~ I am going to try to thred my needle today, love Pip'   

 It just thrilled me to death and its already made its way to the  'Mommy Box' where special little notes and things the kids make me go.   Every Sunday I have 'Mommy Scouts' with Emma & Pip. It lasts around 2 hours, and we start off discussing history of a close Holiday, or sometimes they pick an object in one of the Museum cases and we talk about it...then its on to their sewing, or gardening,  and we end with baking a snack or something special.  Currently I am teaching them how to cross stitch, and they are each working on a little bookmark. For Pip, the most challenging thing is threading her needle. If she makes a mistake in her stitches, I make her rip them back out, so she ends up spending the majority of her time threading that needle!
   At the rate we are going, it will take quite a few Sundayes to finish her little ducky on her bookmark, but like me I guess, she already has bigger plans~ she loves one of my Spring Punkins and has asked me to chart her out to stitch~ that would be kind of fun actually :)  She is in 2nd grade and still makes some of her letters backwards...I wish they would just stay little forever!
 Here is Ladye Strawberry Banke, ready for Spring to sprout new little strawberry blossoms.  She is one of Pip's favorites.   I bet you didn't realize Punkins love strawberries!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Beaded Basket Finishing & Final Assembly

What to do with all those piles of parts!
I kept track of my progress on my template by adding a green sticky over each panel letter after I had finished it....and finally, after literally months....
    All the panels had a green sticky!  YAY....well... maybe.  After clicking this picture with my victory fist.....what I call "Finishing, or Finisher's Anxiety (FA) soon set in.  Which in short I define as a feeling of "O.M.G.....what they heck do I do now???? ....What if I mess up the panels trying to put them together??? What if I break the basket trying to wire them on???? What if the weight of the beads pulls everything apart???  What If...what if....what if!  "  
   At this point, I let myself freak out a bit, especially when I laid out all my bags of parts!  I had been keeping them in a box and making a point not to look at them....for a couple of reasons really, one being I wanted myself to be surprised at how it looked in the end, but mainly, it was my way of focusing on my immediate task at hand~ at this point I was still not sure that I would have enough time to finish before the contest deadline. I was trying to keep my tunnel vision fixed on the light at the end...but had no idea when the light should be coming in to view!  Whenever I would start to get overwhelmed, I would write my friend Janice and she would always have the right words to keep me going~  I remember one time I wrote and said,' I don't know, I don't think I'm going to finish'....to which she replied...."You HAVE GOT TO FINISH THAT BASKET"  and something else on the line of, don't you dare do anything else but work on it!

     One by one, I took each little bag of parts and emptied them out on my worktable. I laid them out in the order I was going to wire them together, the furthest back at the top, with the closest elements at the bottom.  I had my soie oval on hand in several different colors, to wrap stems that would show as I went
 Each element was added one at a time, and wrapped super tight around the center stalk
 If you look close, you will see the center stalk here bent over to the right at the top of the ground mound. I left it long and bent it to the side like this to give me plenty of wire to not only attach the ground mound to, but to support the whole thing being wired onto the basket
   After they were assembled, they went back into their little zip bag.  Here they all are laid out on the counter, ready to go onto the basket...finally!
  One last picture of an empty basket and I am ready to start adding the panels.
 To have easy access to both the top and the bottom, I set the basket up on two hat boxes, leaving a space in the center where I could have a hand on the top and one on the bottom at the same time. I started from the center, and wired each panel onto the frame at the base, sides and top at whatever element ended up touching the frame
  I primped and bent each to the shape I liked as I went along. Some flowers, most of them, stayed to the top, but I also took some flowers and leaves to the back
 After finishing the center band, I started the outside band and did the same working my way around.
  Having been working on it so many months, hours and hours a day nearly every day, it was a kind of strange feeling being done.. I missed working on 'my beads' ....but not for very long. I have another in the works now, as well as a really fabulous 17th c project that I am planing on sharing with everyone very soon~ of coarse its beaded, but yours doesn't have to be!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Growing Foxgloves

  Don't Get Overwhelmed here....
   Remember~ baby steps lead to a finished pile of puzzle pieces!
 I am not going to go thru how I made each and every panel, but picked a favorite to show you the steps of how my foxgloves grew from spindly little wires and 'seed' beads (he he)...into lovely flowers.  The photo above shows all the pieces needed for this single panel. The wires were bent to shape and each numbered to correspond with the same part of my drawn pattern.
  The floral wire will become the base of the foxglove, and the bare wire will shape the bell of the flower.
  The base , or back of the flower, was worked first, then the bell wire laid on
  I first bent it to shape and after proper placement, cut off the excess wire and whipped the wire to the base with my thread
 Starting from the petal edge, beads are worked in an arc above the flower base down to the stem end. Leave the thread tails long so they may be wrapped several times around the stem to secure
   Next worked then attached were the little flower caps
   To the right are finished foxgloves bent to their final shape, and to the left, a set after wrapping all the tail ends in silk~ it makes them look so nice and tidy!
  As I worked each panel, I laid them on my paper pattern to get an idea of how they looked and to make sure they would fit.  After I took their picture, each pile of pieces went into its own little bag labeled with the panel number to wait to be assembled at the same time after all the panels were finished.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Wiring Shapes for Twill fillings

   To make up your shapes for beading, very few things are needed...just wire and imagination actually!  I chose a paper/linen covered floral wire~ I say both paper and linen because when I first bought it, it was covered in thread, and half way thru my basket the manufacturer switched to paper. They both covered well and took the watercolour paint tint easily, tho the thread covered wire it came out a little darker than the paper.  The above picture shows the plain stark white floral wire at the bottom, and the same wire after I aged it a little to look not quite so new at the top.  It was quite easy, each wire was dipped in a vat of walnut ink to the shade of my liking, then spread on a pan and baked in the oven at 250 degrees for about 30 minutes.  The gauge of wire is your own choice~ but you should pick a wire that is as fine as the beads you are working with~ to blend and not be noticeable.
 I used 2 'tools' exclusively for bending all my shapes for this basket~ one was a pair of round nose jewelers pliers, and the second, was one of my favorite chopsticks I brought home from Japan~ the taper from one end to the other was perfect for making smooth turns of pretty near any size.  Above is one of the 8 vases on the basket. There isnt much to explain really, I just bent whatever shape I needed the way I thought it should go, always keeping in mind how large my beads were and how/where the 'wire stem' was going to attach in the finished panel
  I wired each piece next to my pattern to constantly check the size and be sure I had the right shape.
  I was elated to find near the exact size & color antique striped beads that are on the vases in the original basket to use for mine, and as you can see, I didn't find many!  I think I have about 4 beads left over
 This type beadwork is referred to as 'twilling' or twill beadwork, but is basically peyote stitch...but a LOT easier done on wire if you ask me!  At the end of a row or edge, the thread is simply taken around the outside of the wire shape and then next row immediately worked~ this attaches your work to the frame and turns the row all at the same time!  There is no right or wrong way to do it, and you can start at the bottom and work up, at the top and work down....you can start from the side and go across, or start int he middle and work out to both sides at the same time~ I did many leaves that way.  There are no patterns to limit what you can create, because you make the shape and work the beads to fill it~ both inside and outside the wire shape.