Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Anatomy of a Commission

Late in August I was contacted by Ginny Friend about creating a small 
commission as a gift for a 'retiring' curator (Rebecca Stevens) 
from the GWU &Textile Museum.
Jeanne Benson had drawn and painted several 'illuminated' letters 
and I thought, "why not try embroidering initials" as a sort of illuminated
theme. I started sketching with the R and S of Rebecca's name.
And, I did a lot of sketching. Many of these are on tracing paper.

 Rebecca Stevens full initials are R.A.T. S. I decided to make the 
A and T small and include them within the R and S.
 Further drawing and I decided to make a pattern 
of the centers of each letters to be cut out. 
This way I would be able to try different colors inside the outlines.
 While continuing to plan I sketched in some shading
 to get a feeling of color placement
 The theme for the evening of this presentation was blue and white shibori.  
Yoshiko Wada would also be given an award at that time. 
Part of the invitation is shown here.
 Cutting out the centers of the two letters I started trying colors.
Here black and white
Then a watery aqua fabric. I tried several more combinations of colors, but.....
Settled on some shibori fabric to be the center of each initial. 
Luckily I have friends who had all created Shibori samples 
and gave them to me. I used most all of one of Joan Dryer's fabrics.
Again this is on paper and I tried the colors for the outlines.
 Some of the shibori samples friends lent me.
 Now came the embellishing of the letters. I started planning how and where 
I would add small images to add to or highlight the initials.
 And, more drawing and planning
 Then thought I'd better embroider the letters to see
 how the small images could be attached.
This first R I decided against. The reds are too dark. 
It turned out I made several attempts at each letter and each of the small images.
 Laying the R and T on three shades of blue before attaching them 
and then working on the small images.
 As I said I started to make these small images and ended 
with two or three not useable. 
As often as I have created many subjects with thread
 on the sewing machine I never realized 
how hard it would be to make tiny ones.
Here I have taped some to the paper drawing 
before permanently sewing them on the embroidered letters..
As you can see images were rearranged and 
not all images were used. Here is the final presentation. 
The butterflies stand up a bit.
 However, since this was to be an award 
I thought Rebecca ought to have an original certificate 
that this gift represented.
I worked out the document on the computer and 
wanted it to be printed on fabric. 
I ironed freezer paper to both silk and cotton to print the certificate
and then my printer failed. 
Finally Dominie Nash printed it for me. Her printer used the
cotton beautifully.
 Still looking at the original invitation with hundreds of the 
white cherry blossoms 
I started embroidering tiny ones to be used to surround the certificate.
Here is my hoop with a few of the many blossoms and some already cut out.
 This then became the back side of the hanging.
There is a small casing at the top if it is to be hung in that manner.
The presentation was made last Thursday evening at a lovely dinner.
I cannot see Rebecca Stevens leaving the Textile Museum 
and I hope she stays on as a consultant as well as on the board.

1 comment:

  1. I am having trouble finding the comments for my (this) blog.

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