This crewel embroidery is another research experiment for my piece in the MAK9 Draw on the Walls site specific exhibition. The site of my installation is the Deanery basement, a disused servants quarters in a stately home dating back to the early days of Derry-Londonderry as a walled city.
The fireplace and the Lundy effigy masks are the key elements inspiring my work- both of which stylistically date back to the Jacobean period and I let this inform my work.
Luckily for me the Jacobean period gives its name to a style of embroidery popular at the time, featuring thick floss and heavily worked embellishments, sometimes with beading and often with natural motifs. As seen in this hand worked shawl from the Ulster folk Museum archives. (Please forgive the camera-phone images).
Because I my final piece will be embroidery on a non-traditional surface I was keen to try out this heavier kind of stitching. So for experiment I used traditional crewel embroidery techniques- stitching with tapestry cotton onto canvas- creating an almost 3D effect in fill stitches; short and long stitch, wrapped back stitch and couched trellis.
I based the flower design on the motif in the centre of the fireplace tiles, and added a larger centre to feature a trellis stitch typical of the Jacobean style.
This heavy floss with be the basis of the work for my final piece. More on that next week! In the meantime I’ll leave you with my pretty blossom and links to my earlier experiments here and to embroidery on non-traditional media here. Or you can check out the flickr gallery of my work in progress here.