This is another case where I had to print and paint twice. I did the first one too quickly, and the gray background was uneven. Dharma Trading Company just came out with a great new gray dye, and I used it on this second version. Worked beautifully! The huge pink stitches on this one are the basting stitches I use to hold the layers together.
The books, the manuscripts, are the central element in this story. I spent a good deal of time designing and painting them into the image. But then I decided to add them in a more physical manner: I created tiny books. Some of these have leather covers, with fine leather from my stock of old gloves and wallets. Some of them are constructed from real library books. You see, my younger sister works in a college library, and she sends me the covers of books that are being discarded. I take the cloth ones and soak them, scrape off the cardboard, scrub the cloth and save it for projects like this.
Here's a few of my book covers and old wallets.
But the library books were destroyed. To communicate that visually, I embroidered the wording on black silk....
...and sewed it over the books, like a layer of black soot:
It took several attempts to sew words on silk. What finally worked was an ungainly assemblage of 1. a double layer of silk 2. Wonder Under and 3. Sulky - that filmy material that can be washed away. Here's a close-up of the lettering:
And here's the back of the silk. you can see where I've scraped away most of the Wonder Under, and cut away most of the second layer of silk:
Yes, some of the open books have copied pages of medieval manuscripts printed on cloth.
Compare these embroidered letters with the dyed ones at the start of this post:
This piece hasn't yet been mounted on a tablet. I just finally finished the sewing last night.
Actually, looking at it here, it may need just a bit more embroidery on the arches on the right side.. [a few days later] ..oh, yeah: a bit more here, and there and....OK, now it's mounted, so it really IS finished:
Here's a detail shot of the added wording:
If you look closely in the rubble under the arches on the left side, you can see the letters FURORE TEUTONICO DIRUTA - Latin for destroyed by German fury
Enough with doom and destruction: next week's posting will be the much brighter story of medieval beastiaries! And this Friday? A look back at a piece of my early work.