Friday, 14 November 2008

Lady Sew-Forth

I am showing a piece I did a while ago for the Fast Friday Fabric challenge. Challenge 15 was about scale. I think some of the medieval artists did some fun things with scale...basically they didn't worry about it at all!

Normally when I go into the past for inspiration, I go to the Tudors. However, now and then I go back a bit further to the Medieval period. Today I have been laying out ideas for a piece that is based on Illuminated manuscripts. SO, I have piles of books out about times in the Middle Ages and about illuminated lettering. I came across the picture that the above piece was based on, and thought you might like to meet Lady Sew-Forth. I need to finish the edges. I am thinking red binding of some sort...probably with a smallish pattern that has a similar feel to it as the blue pattern near the edges.

Here is the story behind the making of Lady Sew-Forth. The Museum in Reading, Berkshire has a Victorian copy of the Bayeaux Tapestry. At sometime in the past I had thought of using early medieval (anglo-saxon etc) art style in my work, as I am not confident about drawing people. I figured the style was so archaic, any mistakes in my stuff would just blend in!!Anyway, I never did any of that at the time. But when I saw the tapestry, I realised the archaic style was actually a different way of depicting scale and perspective! For instance, the horses are bigger than the castles and churches. Men setting a building alight are as tall as the house.

So, I got out my books with medieval history. I sketched Lady Sew-Forth by looking at a picture of a king being crowned. He had a church in his hands...that became a sewing machine. The sceptre became a rotary cutter, the crown was decorated with needles as big as the scissors also on it. The throne became a cutting table with drawers overflowing with fabric and thread, and so on. I had a lot of fun with it.

Then I realised it was similar colours to a cheater panel someone had given me years ago, knowing I like history. They are prints from the book of hours of Richard Duc de Barry. However, having seen a modern copy of the book of hours, these fabric panels really looked bad! Sooo, what I have done is cover the main print with a thin layer of this stuff like angel paper, which knocks the colour back a bit and pushes the people you can still see on either side, into the background. Then I used other pieces from parts of the cheater panel and placed them here and there to pull the whole thing together. Then I did free motion embroidery. I think that using black for the Lady, and grey for the table helped to give a better perspective, too.

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