Aren’t these lions great! It almost looks like they’re wearing glasses…..and I really wanted them in the composition…..
No. Way too busy. No lion claws reaching out or tails wrapping around. Back to the rug background.
When I printed out these first versions and showed them to my crit group, they said this figure didn’t look like Christ. Don’t know why, but if they can’t immediately identify him as Christ, it's very likely others won’t either. Time to re-cast the part:
Lots of choices, in paint, mosaic, stained glass….
This one came closest to the image in my head, but I wanted him to be holding the globus cruciger, and looking down at it.
I collected many hands. I even got my husband to pose for shots.
I collected many eyes. The ones that worked best came from an unexpected source….
I collected many globus crucigers . FYI: the globus cruciger (the orb and cross) has been a Christian symbol of authority since the Middle Ages. The cross represents Christ's dominion over the orb of the world, literally held in the hand of an earthly ruler. In the iconography of Western art, when Christ himself holds the globe, he is called Salvator Mundi (Latin for "Saviour of the World"). from wikipedia
(Below) We now have a worried-looking Christ, holding a (damaged) orb. Yes, worth all the fussing:
I had originally planned to have the globus cruciger falling out of his hand, but I like the hole (which I worked hard to make not too obvious). Still need to fuss with the cross on top, and his halo, but now it’s time to move on to the rest of the composition. More next week - contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, finally we’re back to the opus. I want my opus to picture the decline of Anglo-Saxon supremacy - to picture Christ not as Salvador Mundi, Master of the Universe, but as outdated figurehead.
This image of Christ from the John of Thanet panel seemed exactly right: the worried look on his worn-out face, his somewhat haphazard grasp of the globus cruciger in his left hand, the tilting of his right hand. I also gathered images of the Tapestry of the Apocalypse in Angers Castle, which shows all sorts of scenes of destruction) below:
Now, I just need a background ….maybe a rug….?
…and I’ve got the beginnings of my composition:
But while the Anglo-Saxon world is collapsing, there are women who will work to hold it together (below):
(above) I started with the poses of these two Medieval women. The one on the left is holding a distaff, the other (on the right) holds a niddy-noddy. OK, a quick tutorial here: a distaff is a tool used to hold unspun fibers. It can be as simple as a stick or elaborately carved and painted (below):
A niddy-noddy is an adorably named tool for making skeins of yarn (below):
Back to the plan - using the poses of the two women and the faces (below) from other Opus Angelicanum work….
…..and we have two women trying to keep the world tied together (below)
Of course, this is just the first composition:
Since I’m going to spend so much time sewing this, I want to be sure I’ve got it exactly right - there’s no way I’m going to sew this twice!
The 3 Fairy Tale tapestries are finished! Photographed! Submitted! Ahead of the Oct 13th deadline. So I took time out to visit the Seattle Art Museum. I was really impressed by this place. The exhibits were arranged to create meaningful connections between the past and the present, with explanations that included the artist’s thoughts. Here are photos of the pieces that sang to me, along with photos of some of the explanations:
(above) A 100-year-old rubbing from a 2,000-year-old gravestone. Old art created from even older art. (below) They had 2 sets of samurai armour. I loved the hand covers
(Above) A painting by a contemporary Australian Aboriginal artist. (Below) several different patterns painted by other artists. Each dot hand painted.
(above) Masks from the original people of the Pacific Northwest, and something I had never seen before (above right): a human being neck ring. There are legs hanging down the back, but I couldn’t photograph them..
I’ve seen these two paintings before, but I really liked the explanations they gave with them (below)
The African exhibit was GREAT! They had the usual ancient tribal masks (below):
But they also had a parade of mannequins exhibiting contemporary costumes (below)
(above) Old African beadwork, but also the contemporary textile work of artist El Anatsui
(below) Ancient African headdress….. with Nick Cave sound suits!
A magnificent ivory carving that until now I had only seen in photos, along with a cutting-edge installation (below)
I read the explanation for the installation, which has to do with empathy, and watched the accompanying video….but I’d have to read it a few more times to make sense of it (below):
(below) Last, huge photographic self-portraits by the South African artist Zanele Muholi:
I don’t pretend to fully understand her images, but I like the way she has some modern versions of ancient headdresses (below):
While waiting for the bus back home, I noticed these copper and stone decorations on an old Macy’s building (below).
And some good news: my Tablet series is being featured in Bound & Lettered Magazine:
The magazine did a great job showing my process, details, and information. It’s the first time that the printed black-and-white line image is shown next to the dye-painted image.
While research continues on Opus Savona, stitching is moving right ahead on the last Fairy Tales tapestry. Below is the unstitched printed image:
You’ve seen the sequins that I was sure would be perfect for the dragon (below):
But they just didn’t work. For three days, I stitched, adding tiny little black snaps around the edge for greater visual definition. But no matter what I did, the shine from the sequins obscured the images next to them. So I pulled them off.
Now we have a buttoned and beaded dragon. Using scraps of vintage yellow crochet for the tail and edges, and small dark red beads to show depth, I think it really works (above).
The woman (above) in her fabulous Day of the Dead costume, was such fun to sew! The colorful bits are from old crocheted flowers (below):
And then we have the Dogon warrior in full regalia (below):
Above: As I sew and bead this, I have to be constantly aware of how the small details affect the overall image. I could have gotten better detail on the headdress figures if I embroidered them, but the dull texture of the wooden beads makes a perfect contrast to the buttons. Oh - see the 2 little skulls? I bought a bunch of them in New Orleans, a few years before Katrina. I can’t figure out what material they’re made of - too hard for actual bone. Possibly ivory or some vegetable ivory, but also possibly plastic. I sanded down the backs of the skulls for a better. Then I went back and added some dark red leather to the mask (below):
I had been wondering how to do the shawl on this witch. Then I came across a piece of heavily embroidered Ukrainian cloth in my stash, which I had over-dyed long ago. Perfect! Last night I sewed that down, then spent the rest of the evening attaching threads from an old tassel.
Sewing in progress, in front of the window (above) and finished dragon head (below):
(below) The 2 Indian drummers now have their skull headdresses and leather drums. There’s a great little shop around the corner, here in Seattle, called Recreative, a non-profit that sells recycled bits and stuff for cheap. I bought a handful of leather scraps for 99 cents, which furnished these drums and the Dogon mask.
I want to enter all three Fairy Tale tapestries in an upcoming show (deadline Oct 13th). Almost finished!!! I hope to have new research on the opus to show you next week. Contact me at email@example.com