Monday, October 24, 2011

The Garden of Earthly Delights

I spent last weekend in Miltenberg at the Garden of Earthly Delights event. It was an arts and sciences event where sca artisans showcased theid work and shared knowledge. I met many new and old fiends from all over Europe, learned new things and got to teach other people on the fine art of embroidery. Merry time was had by all. I sincerely recommend this event in the future for all who want to share knowledge on A&S and meet like minded artisans.

This was my table. I got to choose my table first from all available tables, and choose one in the corner where there was light due to a huge window. After I put my display up, someone moved three big piles of chairs right in front of me, so I was kind of hidden in the corner. But I had light to do some embroidery, so I didn't mind.

Katheryne's Pouch

I had the opportunity to give this present to Katheryne in person, when she visited the Garden of Earthly Delights event. That is the best part of this - giving the final product away and making someone happy. It was nice to have an excuse to give her something. ;)

Here is first a picture of the second finished embroidery (as always, click to have a closer look.):

A detail, I'm very happy about the way the pelican turned out. Unfortunately the shine of the white silk doesn't show well in pictures:

The finished thing, both sides:

Embroidered with silk on linen, split stitch and laid work. The upper part of the pouch as well as it's lining are silk. The cord is also made with silk. I run out of silk thread, so I could not make nicer finger loop braiding cords. Some tassels would have been nice as well, but it'll do without them. The size of the pouch is about 15x22cm

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Let's put the gear on reverse.

I had a discussion with a friend of mine about the reverse sides of embroideries. He was upset, that people were looking at the backsides of embroideries to determine the quality of work. His oppinion is, that one should not judge the backside, because surviving period embroideries usually have a very messy backside. I would like to discuss this.

What we can see, when we look at the backside of an embroidery? Sometimes it is "messy" with threads going here and there and knots sprinkled all over. Sometimes it is almost as neat as the right side of the work and no knots anywhere. Which one is better? And is it at all relevant?

The reverse side can tell a lot about the embroidery. How are the stitches really made? Is the work done systematically or has the embroiderer jumped from one corner to another? Is there excessive use of thread where no-one can see it (waste of money!)?

But is a messy backside a flaw? If the right side is beautiful, why should we be concerned about the backside when we know that medieval people were not? Of cource, if there is too much material on the backside of the work, it can make a difference on how the embroidery appears on the finished piece.

It all comes down to one question: Which is more important factor, authenticity or craftmanship? If authenticity is more important, we should indeed try to make the backsides of our embroideries messy! If craftmanship is considered to be the more important factor, we should also take a look at the backside to give us more information of the actual work process.

Is a neat backside better? In my oppinion it doesn't matter. I try to keep the backsides of my embroideries neat, but that is just the way I like it. And judging the work by it's backside? The judging criteria include many things. The quality of the work is only one of them. And the backside of an embroidery is only one little piece of the thing called the quality of work.

So by all means take a look at the backside of an embroidery, if it is not covered. But do not judge a work by the appearance of it's backside!