Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tapestries ancient and modern

I just thought, since I've had tons, well, some, well, a couple, of requests to see what has been happening with my tapestry recently, that I'd show you how it's coming along. Very very slowly, in fact, since I keep having to stop to card and dye and spin yarn for use in the tapestry. The solid colors you see here are commercial yarn, and the variegated ones are mostly my own homespun, about which I'm unbearably conceited, I mean excited.

But, while I was at it, I thought, in the process of propping up the WIP (work in progress) against a white wall, to take a picture, why not show you a couple of things I made years ago, in the thread frame of mind, especially since the two best ones were right there on the same white wall, just waiting to be seen. So, just for a change of pace, here's the little gallery.

My stitches are getting bigger and bigger as my hands and eyes get older! the littlest one is my interpretation of one of the Unicorn tapestries, not from the ones in the Cloisters, but one that's in France, and shows the lady and the unicorn.

Stitched at 38 stitches to the inch on fine gauze, I must have been nuts. Image size is about three inches by five or thereabouts. I did this by observing pictures of the original, but not putting anything on the gauze before doing the work, basically it's freehand.

Then there's another one, this a bit bigger, stitched at 22 to the inch, about 10 x 8 inches, and is another interpretation with a modern shove, of a purse in the Wintherthur collection, dating back to the 18th century.

I loved the flowers and the flow of the design, especially when I got through changing it....

The current tapestry is THREE wpi, i.e. stitches to the inch approximately, showing what a serious leap this was, heh. But I notice that even though the purse was done way back in the early 80s, and the unicorn piece even further back, in the 70s, I still seem to like the tapestry/needlepoint art form.

Very satisfying to use your hands this way. The current piece, about 12 x 15 I think, when finished, is the first of a series of three, which will hang one above the other, using earth and foliage shades, freeform again, since I tried a cartoon, a design first that I drew, then decided it was too fussy for this work, tossed it and went back to deciding as I go.

The other two will be different colors, one hotter, with reds and pinks and ochres, and the last in blues and darks in that family. But I think I will more or less repeat the design with the second and third ones. We'll see how this one turns out first! hope springs eternal...and meanwhile I'm dyeing up a storm to have a collection of yarns ready when I need them.


  1. Absolutely lovely!

  2. I already posted one comment, but it didn't seem to go through. Anyway, Kudos, as they say in blogland. OMG 38 stitches to the inch!
    Looking forward to seeing the current project when complete.

  3. Fun to see photos of your work. Both my daughters used to do embroidery work - but they didn't create the designs. Yours is so much more sophisticated. I love the lady and the unicorn.

  4. Wow! I made the Winterthur purse too! But I used Colonial blue for the entire background and finished it into an envelope style clutch. Congratulations - I know how much work that was! :)


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