I was quite intimidated by this one. I’ve been knocking these out about one per month but the Wolf took me nearly double that and I think it’s cos I couldn’t figure out a clever way to do the Wolfsbane flowers. Their shape is weird and I couldn’t think of a way to do it in stumpwork.
So they pretty much ended up in plain flat work. Which felt weird for me but was the best way of expressing them I guess.
The stem was variegated which is why it looks a little stripy. Then on to the flowers.
So I lied, they were a little bit 3D. Just padded with felt on the hoods.
I’d forgotten how nice just plain old embroidery can be. I’m pretty pleased with how these turned out. Next I got my metal threads out again.
Not the best example of the technique in the world to be honest, I struggled to get the tiny bits to lay flat.
On the other hand, these moon phases were really fun to do.
Did I say fun? I meant really fucking annoying. It’s all nice and shiny on the front but the back looks like the Cthulu came to tea.
So plunging and couching all that down was a day’s work.
So yea. This was my flattest piece for a while. I really like it though.
\\ W O L F //
The wolf represents intuition and learning, and can be the most faithful of animal guides. Mysterious and magical, wolf legends are ancient, especially those connecting wolves with the moon and shapeshifting. Shown here, the wolf-ghost is flanked by wolfsbane – so named as the spittle that fell from the three headed hell-hound Cerberus, guarding the gates of Hades, became the first one. It is also used by werewolves to cure themselves and also to become invisible. The mythology of the man-wolf is also represented by the moon phases as transformation, and by the magic of the silver dagger. Finally the rune Othala represents wisdom and integration, and in Norse mythology Odin’s final destruction at the hands of the Fenris Wolf.
The last wolf in Britain was thought to have been killed near the source of the river Findhorn in Scotland in 1743.
Puffball mushrooms. I’m sorry I don’t have any in-progress shots. So you’ll have to take my word for it that these are made of old tights. No really.
Sketched out these Mandrake dudes freehand, but did it so well directly on to the fabric that it was a bit tricky trying to cut out this eco-felt to match. Should’ve sketched it to the felt obviously.
Anyway, stitched them down and over-sewed it with these sort of shading running stitch. Wasn’t all that happy with this bit as I struggled to make it not look stripey.
When I was happy with that I added these little rooty bits with couched down string and stuff.
Sorry that one’s a bit overexposed.
Ok so next I had a genius moment when I realised my beloved 21st Century Yarns (my absolute fave thread designer) did space dyed cotton velvet in the same gorgeous shades as all their threads. Sigh velvet. So rather than fill in all these shapes with embroidery as normal I just selected the best shade of oily blue green and using the same shade of thread (genius) made my slips.
Raided my semi precious stones from my jewellery making days (oh how glad I am I hung on to these) and sorted through these lovely Ocean jaspers to find the perfect ‘Stone of Power’.
Druids believe that the frog or toad carrying a secret within is the possessor of a power object – a stone of magical properties said to be found in the heads of very old specimens. By carrying such a stone and using it magically, the druid would be able to contact the animal spirit.
//Frog / Ghost / Medicine//
Frog’s were considered by druids as representatives of water spirits and as creatures in contact with the underworld and the dark God. Frog brings medicine and also represents hidden power and beauty.
Frog is shown with puffball mushrooms representing inner connection and mystery, and the mandrake, the greatest magical reputation of all plants, with its ability to drive away illness, demons and misfortune. Also the rune Hagalaz which heals physical, mental and spiritual wounds and increases mystical experiences and knowledge.
Ten days since my last post. First of all lets deal with this here silk ribcage, which will go into the Midsummer Collection and which I completed on Wednesday. Then I gots some explaining to do.
I filled in the rest of the shape with my fine fine machine weight silk, chose a couple of other warmer shades for the spine and added some french knot spiny processes and (you probably can’t see this but) some subtle shading lines on the under edge of each rib.
Then I spent some time outlining the ribs in a dark grey cotton. Here’s a better view:
Finally I mounted it in a plain wooden frame:
I know this is well trodden ground for me, but I love to revisit a design and see what improvements I can make as my technical knowledge grows. I also LOVE how this version pops against the black fabric and how you can tell what it is from across the room.
So, back to my life and stuff. As you know, I have now been living in our ‘dream location’ – the south coast near Brighton – for not quite 2 months now. I’m currently into my third week at my new full-time job at the whole/health foods workers co-op. My daily commute door to door is only slightly longer than it was in Leeds except that it’s 5 days a week, and the work is pretty standard fare as far as all my years in retail jobs go; I like it, I love being in Brighton every day, I LOVE seeing the sea everyday and I love our flat, the light, the seagulls, the wildlife…all of it.
I do miss my friends though, and I do miss my time. After today it will be 6 days until my next day off, which is my birthday and I have plans for which don’t involve Mother Eagle. In SO MANY WAYS we are living the dream quite literally. I am so blessed to be able to sit here knowing that the uphill road to getting here, lasting nearly 2 years (or 16 years if you’re counting from when the intention was there) has resulted in such a reality. But I am a planner. Somedays a control freak, clutching at the world, trying to bend it to my will. That sounds a bit melodramatic doesn’t it? But my point is, as it pertains to the dropping off in steady work flow into this blog etc, is that subconsciously or otherwise I think I expected to be churning out the goods at a rate similar to when I had the same 4 days off a week as before. You may scoff, but this is the kind of expectation I set for myself. I now live my ‘life’ around a rota system and with that other responsibilities and choices have come up: Sometimes I won’t get home until 9 or 9.30pm. Usually it’s half 7pm. If I don’t want to survive on pasta with pesto and toast and cereal then I better get organised and plan meals and shopping and stuff according to the time I do have. Cook more. Also means when I get home (at the moment) I’m pretty knackered so usually fine hand work isn’t the best way to rest. I’m using my body a whole lot more in my job: lifting, carrying, pushing, and walking more, so I have taken up relaxing yoga again – daily as much as possible to help stretch and strengthen my body. Plus, it’s just a whole lot of new energy and stuff to assimilate in your life when everything changes.
I don’t normally talk about my life but it is useful to do so on the blog sometimes because I rarely write down my thoughts and feelings and live in my own head a lot. Some of these things have left me feeling like I’ll have to ‘give up’ Mother Eagle; I want it to be a business, to make a profit, not just an indulgent and expensive hobby which it has felt like lately.
I’m not going to give up though. It’s what I love, how could I? But I do need to listen to people who love me and stop being so hard on myself – it’s a big thing we’ve done, a big big change. I’m going to carry on producing my art as much as I can and as much as I WANT TO. I can’t let Mother Eagle become the mistress of me, I am the mistress of her. So, at least for the next 6 months, I will work at a pace that is still nourishing for me, share with you as always, and actually give myself the chance to experience and enjoy the life down here that we worked so long and hard for.
I’d love to know if any of you out there have ever felt anything like this and what you did?
Thanks for listening folks. I’m going to try and start this bloody Foxglove Stumpwork now.
So I realise I’ve not been keeping up my one-new-design-a-week typical blogging schedule this last 2 weeks ish. This is not only because of the wonderful and long longed for distractions of things like this picture – the honestly really real life beach covered in snow and topped with azure sky scene at the (almost) bottom of my street WHERE I NOW LIVE.
It’s also not only because of distractions like Ice Cream Sundaes (yes capitalised because they are Sundaes of God-like status in my house), a soothing balm-slash-reward enjoyed slightly too frequently since moving to the seaside.
No. The MAIN reason for the interruption in service is that I have found a job. I now work in a workers co-operative which sells organic and wholefoods, natural products and the like. It is right in the North Laines of Brighton and is fabulous, but I have been very busy getting to grips with that, obvs.
SO this Easter weekend, I had lots of bits and bobs to do, and I was also teetering on the edge of a possible new client commission (now delayed) so I didn’t get started on a new piece as quickly as I might have. And it definitely doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that I’m a bit scared to do a stumpwork Foxglove. No, defo not that.
I did this instead:
I know this is not a new design, so sorry all you long time readers who might groan at this BUT, it was always my intention to revamp this design for the new collection, on black, in silk and set into a wooden pendant.