Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Amazing Arts & Crafts Shoulder Cape

This is such an unusual late 19th century shoulder cape, which I havent had very long.Never having seen anything like it, in all my textile collecting years,I took it to an expert who agreed with me that it is most likely an Arts & Crafts movement piece on account of the gothic style inscription in Latin which reads "nothing is impossible for man" may have origins in the "Glasgow School", so I am going to send images to someone who is an expert in that region.
The fabric is silk satin...very fragmented now and faded from what may have been pink, to a dull gold, and the cape is heavily padded. The embroidery is all machine applied, and the garment is quite stiff and heavy.

It is shown on my Victorian "Blouse Stand" which still has the original damask covering...age stained, but is missing the wooden handle from the top.
It is such an unusual garment, and the suspicions so far, are that it was made for a special event...but of course it is all guess work.

Lila, my disgraceful studio doll

I guess it's the time to be busy, but I seem to have been much more so lately. I've been selling vintage dresses on ebay for Christmas fundraising,planning my talk and presentation for Embroiderers Guild next week,going to exhibitions, talks and starting to think about Christmas....and planning some new work too.
I havn't been in my studio so much through all this, but when I was there this week, we had a journalist from the local newspaper visiting, talking to us and taking photographs, down at Cuckoo farm Studios. It was an interesting morning, and I took some photographs of an interesting Victorian Short Cape that I have.....and also of discraceful doll who sits in the sketchbook corner.
This is Lila...a 1930s Boudoir doll who has seen better days and who, inspite of all attempts to clean her up refuses to "come clean".

Monday, 7 November 2011

New Project....a new challenge

I've decided to add some 3D pieces to the "Exquisite Poverty: Song of the Shirt" work, as I may be exhibiting it further away from home next year and am quite excited about the prospect of challenging myself to make things I havn't attempted before, but which I think will add another dimension to it.
I'm not going to say too much at this early stage, but the first piece I shall be working on is a "chandelier" which will combine left over fragments from the shirting quilt, with Victorian lace.
I have had the gilt metal frame of an original 19th century light shade in my shed for about 5 years...only rediscovering it on cleaning out the shed recently...and it was then that I suddenly saw it as a centre for the original roon setting. I am also thinking about a small chest and footstool, but one thing at a time, as the remains of the quilt are so little now.
I have been a bit "stuck" as I had intended to start a whole new work...but have felt that the EP:SOTS work was not quite complete...especially if I am offered a larger venue. If I can produce the three new pieces, I think I shall be happy to start a new journey.
Here are some images of the antique frame as I start to dismantle the remains of the old fabric.
The gilt frame and the inner ring which I have unscrewed to remove the fabric.
The lace hem from a Victorian petticoat, and some scraps of the vintage shirting.
The outer gilt frame...this is a large piece measuring about 18" straight across.
Halfway through taking the fabric off the inner has been oversewn with such tight, tiny stitches and I wonder if i will be able to do so well.It was also completely wrapped in fine tape which has now rotted away with rust...I will probably have to re-bind this.
I never really plan exactly what I am making as I prefer to work on intuition and let things has been the best way in the past, but I think I shall have to plan the layout of the fabric due to its' scarcity now....and I think the writing from the poem should be visible on the inside; lots of things to think about when I go to the studio tomorrow.