I was very nervous about entering because of a past bad experience in a competition, but I bit the proverbial bullet and threw my hat into the ring. Here are pictures i took and I will copy and paste my documentation in for further reading.
|This is my entry set up at St Eligius.|
|Cell phone shot while working on it.|
|another cell shot at 1am the day before of the stopping point.|
|A photo of me at my spot someone took of me.|
Documentation papers from St Eligius:
St Eligius 12 Question Contest Documentation
What did you make or do?
I am currently working on an Italian embroidered hand towel inspired by an extant piece in the Victoria and Albert museum.
What is the connection between your entry and a medieval item or practice?
I am creating an Italian persona for myself and want to have feast linens for myself.
How would your entry have been made/done in period?
The detail work on the towel/napkin that inspired me was actually a separate piece that was woven and then stitched onto the linen towel, then the hem was created and trimmed with red stitching. However there are other extant pieces that show the linen being directly embroidered on.
How was yours made/done?
I am embroidering directly onto white linen with a counted stitch pattern using Splendor Twisted Silk 12 strand embroidery thread, two strands, color number 0822.
What are some similarities and differences in materials, process, tools, approach?
The silk that would have been used on the piece at the museum would have been stranded silk. I am using twisted silk thread for durability, also it was what I had in my stash already.
What inspired you?
Two pieces from history inspired me. The pattern came from a “cover” that is at the Victoria & Albert Museum. I found a pattern already charted very similar to this one in the New Carolingian Modelbook and am using that. The other piece that inspired me is the towel also at the V&A with a woven band of embellishment.
What was your favorite part of preparing your entry?
I love to embroider. I have always been a lover of counted work (except when I miscount and have to pick out stitches). Blackwork is one of my favorite embroidery styles to execute as well. So with creating an Italian persona having a feast gear linen set made for my persona was an appealing idea.
What would you do differently next time?
I would invest in stranded silk to execute the embroidery to make it more accurate to the original pieces.
What references or sources would you recommend to someone interested in your work?
The V&A has a large collection of embroideries and this is where I found wonderful images of redwork.
https://www.artic.edu/artworks/2295/cover (cover with the embroidery pattern)
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O119345/napkin-unknown/ (images of the towel)
Image of woman with embroidered towel on shoulder.
Towel/Napkin from V&A Museum, 1500 Italy
How did you find your sources of information?
I found images, paintings and inspirations mainly through internet research as well as a few books in my collection.
- Assisi Embroidery by Jos Hendriks ISBN 9082190028
- New Carolingian Model Book by Kim Brody Salazar ISBN 0964208229
Did you find a connection to a medieval artisan or owner while working on your entry?
I have always loved embroidering. My mother taught me when I was a small child and have progressed through the years from cross stitch to free embroidery and after I found the SCA 26 years ago, now researching techniques done through out history and doing my best to recreate them as accurately as possible. Recreating the embroidery from pieces in history gives me an idea of what it was like all those years ago. Modern day conveniences such as electric lights, machined metal needles and threads and magnifying glasses give me an advantage that they did not have then. I have, for the sake of curiosity, tried embroidering by candle light with a large glass vase filled with water to act as a magnifier but it proved quite difficult with my already aged vision. I imagine embroidering that way caused eye sight to deteriorate more quickly over the years.
Any last thoughts or amusing stories about your work?
A fellow friend who also embroiders once told me “Embroidery always takes twice as long as you think it will”. As always, she is right. Even though I allotted what I thought was a generous amount of time to finish this project prior to the event, I did not allot enough. The tight linen I chose, even with reading glasses, was sometimes difficult to count and mistakes were made that required stitches to be removed thus delaying completion.
Internet Research Web Site Links:
Close up of Towel/Napkin at V&A Museum, 1500 Italy
“Cover” Showing cross stitch pattern Inspiration
While I most likely will not enter another competition, I did learn quite a bit while sitting for this one. I wanted to thank everyone that stopped by and gave suggestions or compliments at my work.