Sunday, July 13, 2014

Metal work, Gold work, Embroidery with a lot of technique

Exotic Flower by Margaret Kinsey

Exotic Flower with Margaret Kinsey, my first introduction to "gold work".  I'm really happy I took advantage of this class hosted by the Monmouth County NJ EGA chapter.  I took the class to get familiar with another style of needlework that dates back to Yuan Dynasty, as in 800 years ago.  Many things have gotten easier over the years, I'm not sure this holds true with gold work embroidery.
But the beauty from working with gold threads and metal threads is tremendous and in this day and age of cute and whimsey I relish anything that has tone of beauty.

Model of Exotic Flower by Margaret Kinsey

My own less than Exotic Flower after 2 day
It is a learning piece and should I ever finish it I think it will be pretty and nice to have.  So I might be premature in feeling disappointed that several of the materials used in the original piece are no longer available and substitutions were made.  So this was a bummer in my opinion as the original colors are spectacular like looking at a perfect specimen.  Original flower was stitched in 2 ply trebizond (yes we plied trebizond) with perfectly toned colored wire purl and wire check purl to add the shading to the bloom.  These were used in the center bulb section.  In the kit was included a more coral rather than magenta wire purl and a darker brick red wire purl instead of the deep magenta check purl.  Wire purl is  a tiny coil, round in section.   Check purl is similar except that its triangular in section to the flat area reflect light differently than wire purl.  The leaf and stem were originally chartreuse wire purl, again un available so we used a much darker green for the padded leafette and stem.  Where we were to use chips of the green wire purl we used beads.  Beads just don't compare to wire chips! 

Here's some of the materials we used, the fushia thread is the trebizond and the other colored "snakes" are the wire purl.  You can see where I stitched the wire purl below.  Each of the pieces you have to measure or more likely eyeball the length required, this was so challenging for me as I think 1 of every 3 cuts was usable.  The little snake coils, the wire purl, is sewn down with a size 10 needle fed through the length of the coil or chip.  When length is critical if its too long it squiggles or crimps so you have to unthread your needle, remove the piece and try again.  Chips are easy, I have a few of these at the base of the cup and its equivalent to messy beading in needlepoint.  The gold coils below are cut and stretched (eyeballing) just enough so your couching thread slides between the coils.  Below the lower couched Gold gilt Pearl Purl is a gold outline stitch.  The outline stitch was done in a gold wire thread. While the purls are real metal, the gold wire is a mylar over a synthetic core much like Kreinik braids.  The mylar kept breaking and I found it very hard to stitch with it.  I wonder what a size 8 or 12 braid would be like?

Here is the stem and leafette.  The stem is gilt check purl (triangular in section) over a cotton cord base. The leafette is green wire purl over a double layer felt pad.  Here's where my patience was tried cutting the metal threads long enough to cover the base below but not too long where they would wiggle and not be straight.  When I stitched them tighter as to conceal the padding below they began to spoon to the purl next to them and not lie straight.  On the left side I was concentrating so hard that I inadvertently had my knuckle or tool applying pressure to the right side of the leafette and left a dent.  Its like a new slinky, so perfect, and then it gets this little pressure point and soon its not so perfect and makes me feel sad.  Oh well time to move on.

I used my magnet dock along with my evertites.  Some time ago I blogged about it and then I never followed up with a picture.  I still have some at the shop (single like below) and double wides.  I like having my tools off my canvas.  And the entire surface is equally magnetized.  No matter how many times I filed my thumb smooth it seemed like I was still catching it on a piece of dry skin.  How handy when I realized my metal nail file stuck to my magnet.  Love the slice tweezers with the razor thin points and rubberized wide handle.

Magnetic Dock by Evertite, single size

I hope to use gold work techniques whenever I can.  (Unbeknownst to me at the time I have a tiny amount of gold work in the second installment of my black dress collection so I knew I was destined to embrace this technique).  Yes it's challenging or shall I just come out and say it ain't easy for me?  But the results to me are worth the effort.  Its that ol' you get out what you put in.  Most of the materials I sell and if not can order as I love so many of the stitching products distributed by Access Commodities. Margaret Kinsey has a fantastic repertoire of work and has been trained in Japanese Embroidery.  She recommended keeping our work covered at all times.  Cutting a window in a piece of plastic or tissue during active work and completely covering your piece when idle.  The plastic reflected light and I found that distracting.  And at this point I guess I'm part lazy and don't think of my work as so precious that it should be covered.  That being said covering could be quite necessary when I'm further along.  Silk threads are so easily caught on any metal as well as I found the plied trebizond catching on the surface of the congress cloth causing it to snag and fuzz.  Looking forward to time when I can post progress or post an example of these techniques on something new.

Items from Access Commodities that I have in the shop in addition to those online are Gold Rococo purl, Silk Gimp kits, Silk wrapped purl in lots of colors, Bees wax (essential for metal work), acid free tissue,  Nori rice glue, embellishments and semi precious stones, Legacy Linen, Strathmere Linen, 40 count linen, 25 count linen and silk gauze.  And several books.  Oh and I have the full line of trebizond silks, accentuate, bijoux, some silk oval, lots of au ver a soie too.   Pins, needles and scissors by Bohin.  And will be restocking the stump work / raised work tool kit.  Also carry Evertities!

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