Saturday, January 24, 2015

Celtic Knot

So, I promised to explain what happened to the piece I was working on last March based on Irish dance dresses. We left it as an idea for making pieces/fragments in wispy silk paper with white on white stitching based on celtic knots, to be joined into a large hanging or made up into a dress.  It was a slightly melancholy concept.  And then a funny thing happened - the weather changed, winter ended and one particularly sunny spring day, I realised I didn't want to do it.  What I wanted to do was celebrate the colour and exuberance of the dance dresses in all their gaudy glory.

My next thought was to focus on the knotwork and let it escape from the dresses, so I came up with the idea of making freestanding knots on a larger scale.  I had just been working on this little piece

and really enjoyed it, so I used the same technique.  First, I drew the knot - a triangle elongated as if to fit the bodice of a dress - and cut it out from felt which I painted with silk paints in red and yellow.  I graduated the colour from red at the corners through orange to yellow in the centre.

 Next, I collected up reels of threads and yarns in red, orange and yellow and cut short pieces, mixing them in boxes to create the range of colours I needed.  Then I laid down pieces of Mistyfuse on the felt and sprinkled on the cut ends, fixing them by ironing.

Here you can see how I started with all the red areas and then worked through to orange and yellow, carefully blending as I went.

Once I had a layer of thread ends fixed down, I handstitched over the whole piece using long random cross stitches in the same threads.


Finally, I trimmed all those ends away to give a clean edge and painted over the back with fabric stiffener to stop the corners from flopping.  The finished piece is about the size of an A1 board.  Although I  attached a dowel for hanging in the exhibition at Sidcot, I like the idea of using it just propped sideways against a wall or leaning on a fireplace as a piece of home decoration - maybe several in different colours.  My only regret with this piece is that having carefully drawn the overs and unders in the knot correctly, they don't show, so perhaps for a future one, I can make it clearer.

I am putting the knot into the Bristol Embroiderers' Guild Exhibition in February - details below - so do come along for a look round, a cuppa and some homemade cake.

Embroiderers' Guild, Bristol Branch Exhibition
Feb 20-22nd 2015
Stoke Lodge Adult Education Centre
Shirehampton Road
Bristol BS9 1BN

Open Fri and Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 10am -4pm.  Admission £3. Light refreshments available