Tagged ‘bud’

The Left Upper Sleeve

April 9th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Left Upper Sleeve status April ninth.Here’s a good idea, thanks Carol and Kimberly. This is the left upper sleeve as of today, April 9th. Each sleeve is composed of two parts, the upper and the under. The top of the upper sleeve has a convex curve to go over the top of the shoulder; the under has a concave curve to go under the underarm. Otherwise they’re the same shape. To me it looks about half done; about as many spaces as colored-in bits. But then when you consider all the gold work that has to be done, plus the sequins to be sewn on in every blank space, plus the detached bits to stitch and then sew on (the top layer of the pea pods and the butterfly wings), well, there’s plenty left to do.

Cornflower and friends from jacket back, April ninth status.Here is a cluster of motifs from the back of the jacket. At about seven o’clock is one of the dreaded trefoils; about ten there’s a sweet pea flower and pea pod; at twelve a honeysuckle with the pink & red buds; one o’clock a spiky-winged butterfly; at two most of a thistle; at about four o’clock is part of a foxglove. You can see an unstitched rose on the left, various buds, rose hips and leaves here & there; and the blank (for now) vine twining around all. Notice the little curlicues that spring from the vine; I was mentioning those yesterday. In the extreme lower right corner you can see part of another trefoil, with the vein of the leaf marked. All the trefoils and most of the other leaves have those veins. They’ll later be stitched in gold.

I’ll intersperse these posts with others, but I’ll get pictures up of all the pieces so you can see where we are. And after this coming weekend, when we have a work session, I’ll post another picture of this sleeve so you can see what was done on it. Overall, I think this piece is more done than some (the jacket fronts, for instance, are less densely covered than this) and less done than others (the jacket back, perhaps, the wings, the gussets for sure). So, pretty representative. The reason I picked it, though, is less well-thought-out than it might seem – this frame was at the front of the cupboard.

Getting Settled to Stitch

March 28th, 2008 by Tricia

workroom.JPGYesterday I started a photo journal of a typical day in the life of our sessions. Here we continue on the day. After going over the instructions and as new stitchers are getting their doodle cloths finished, Wendy or I do a ‘highly scientific’ process of looking at the doodles, checking the pieces the stitcher sent in, and going over the frames to see what needs to be done. We are looking for a comfortable match for that person. Often we will start someone on a full motif like a bud or peapod worked only in silk. What I find particularly funny is that the more advanced the stitcher is, the more nervous she usually is about starting on the jacket – afraid she will ‘screw it up’. Conversely, if we start one of the interns on the jacket – they will do anything we ask happily as they have no reference point to know that ‘this is supposed to be hard’.

Usually this is the point that I pull out a deck of photos I have printed for this purpose. We have to remind ourselves of the conditions that the jacket was originally made in before we judge our skills too harshly and rob ourselves of the pleasure of working on this project.

Close your eyes and put yourself in the past. A room full of mostly men over a spectrum of ages. Young teenagers that were apprenticed to older masters and just learning. They would start with simpler tasks, maybe twisting silk for an embroiderer, maybe working a simple motif. These were children who may not have completed a sampler when they were young as their female peers did expecting a life of domestic embroidery. They would have been prepared by maybe learning to read and write before being apprenticed to a trade. Referring to Patricia Wardle’s article on Edmund Harrison, Embroiderer to the King, we find information on the apprentice structure circa 1611 and onwards. These apprentices were bound for eight years to ‘serve the aforesaid party in all fidelity and diligence and to learn embroidery, in return for which he, the aforesaid party, should enjoy, apart from instruction, board, lodging, clothing and those things pertaining to these…’

Edmund Harrison was the son of a merchant taylor and was sent to school at nine years old to learn the catechism and read and write. From records, it appeared that he was apprenticed around 14 years old into the embroidery trade. By 27 he was known as the King’s Embroiderer and ran a workshop with more embroiderers and apprentices. So it is likely that our jacket was stitched by a combination of 14 year old boys and those older and more skilled. Think about the teenage boys you know. Mind blowing, isn’t it.

Armed with that knowledge, I show the nervous stitcher my deck of photos. They are close ups of a different and very beautiful jacket. I have seven different carnations all printed at the same scale. When you look at them you see that one very skilled person stitched the flower with miniscule detached buttonhole stitches. Then you see that the calyx on each flower was stitched by different people, each with crude larger stitches and none of them match. Then I point out the worms next to several of the flowers. That’s when the ‘ah ha’ moment is. The worms look like something we all did when we were five. Most likely we are seeing the progression of early apprentice, skilled apprentice and masters all in one photo. Yet the jacket itself in its entirety is breathtaking. That’s when our stitchers relax and settle in.

Don’t be afraid to join us! And while you are at it, bring your favorite teenager with you. We’ll apprentice them too!

Tricia

The Lackey’s Leaf*

February 10th, 2008 by Jill Hall

bud

Lace sample arrived today from Robbin.

Today Emily embroidered on the jacket. The first thing she did was a pink bud, shown here next to someone else’s leaf. The top corner shows a little of Wendy’s pansy. This bud is on the lower left corner of the back of the jacket.

leafNext she did a whole leaf on the coif. Here’s a picture of Emily pointing to the leaf. The photo on the left is Emily’s leaf. Hers is the dark green single leaf on the left, above the pink bud.

Here’s Emily working on the leaf.

This is her last week working with us, then she has to go back to school. We’ll miss her.

*Now we’re all teasing Emily.

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