Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Museum Monday on a Tuesday!

Spring ...Sprung...Sprang????

  I have had many readers let me know how much they miss my Museum Monday posts...so I will try and do my best to bring them back~ I miss them as well! I love to share interesting little tidbits with ya'll...so how many of you know what Sprang is?  And if you do...can you tell it from netting? After this post today, I hope you will know answers to both of those questions.  Above are two first quarter 19th c miser's purses~ the one on the top, 760.2014.13 is indeed a Sprang example. The purse on the bottom, 759.2014.12, is netting, or more easily put~ knotted. Aside from the above  photo, I have left all my pictures large to you may click on them to really see them up close~

  So why would you care for the difference between 'Sprang' and knotting, or netted work? From a buyers point of view, cost is absolutely the reason. Sprang examples are exceedingly rare, since they can unravel like knitting....and so, are much more costly than knotted pieces~ tho many knotted pieces are passed off as Sprang to those who are unaware of what they are looking at. Sprang is a method of twisting the warp threads together to make a very flexible fabric that has a great ability for expansion. The warp threads are fixed at both ends on a frame, and then twisted in a way that can interlink, interlace or intertwine them....the threads are twisted...not knotted.  There are no knotts in Sprang woven pieces.  We will look first at the purse on the bottom, the knotted purse...as an example of what Sprang is not.  Click on the photo above and you will see the mesh is made up of both small and elongated diamonds....and where each and every single thread meets, is a knot.

  Pieces that are made of a knotted netting, can still survive with holes, as seen above. With a knot at each juncture, the piece will not hopelessly unravel

Without a loupe or high magnification, one could mistake this pattern of netting for same pattern in the Sprang technique, as seen above...but note, the Sprang is again twisted....there are no knots.


  Now we can look at the Sprang purse. In both this case, and with the purse above, the design in the finished mesh is dictated by both the weave, and the dye of the thread~ just like modern day 'sock yarn'~ as one knits a sock, colored patterns will appear as one knits along. Its hard to see in ts example~if you go back up to the first closeup of the knotted purse,  and look at the elongated diamonds, you can see where the color of the thread changes inbetween the knots.

  This purse has been worked in fine silk, and when it gets a hole, there is nothing to keep it from unraveling, which is why I dont dare spread or put tension on the weave.  There are are many different, very complicated weave patterns of Sprang~
  I highly recommend 'The techniques of Sprang by Peter Collingwood' if you desire to read further or would like to learn how to do it for yourself.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

10th Consecutive Year in EAL Directory of Traditional American Craftsmen

 Thankyou Early American Life

 I am honored, and humbled to have been chosen again this year to be part of Early American Life Magazine's 2017 Directory of Traditional American Craftsmen~ for the 10th consecutive year!  This is very special to me. Each and every time I sell a dolly, I hope that when they arrive to their new home, they will be loved and appreciated as much as the love and appreciation, and heart that I put into each and every single one. Each year when I select my entry, I worry that they wont be good enough to be listed~ I  never ever have a thought that getting in is a given, as it is not. Each year is a new panel of expert Judges, Artists and Museum curators that I have to introduce my work to for the first time.  Only the top selection for each category is called to submit their pieces for photography, and again this year I was called to have Msr Isaac Hamilton & Patience travel to Elfreth's Alley in Pa.  What an honor ~I cannot describe in words how special this is to me! Alas, since they now make their home in New Zealand, they could not make the trip in time in person, but will be there in spirit, along with all the other 2017 top entries.

As a celebration of my 10th year in the Directory, I believe a new dollye(or two) is in order....a new, special edition dolly that their will only be two of....  one for me, and one to share on eBay.  She is will be special, and very close to my heart, so be watching for her debut when the Directory comes out in August!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Springing Ahead!

Bath Textile Summer School 2017 ~ Just around the corner!

I apologize for letting the blog get away from me for a few weeks! I have been busy with a zillion different things it seems~ got the taxes out of the way and that was a huge task I am glad to be finished with.  I have been working on making the basket frames for the Bath Arbor Basket class in England this summer~ there is no welding here! I am using copper coated steel rod to work up the frames and its been murder on my poor fingers. I have about another solid weeks work on them to get them all finished. For those of you who have been emailing to ask, yes, class is full & on wait list, and no, I am not planing on teaching this particular class in the US~ this is a special, very special, class only for the Bath Textile Summer School.

    If you are in class, look for your materials list to come out in April, which will have everything you need to bring that will not be in your kit~ tools and such. I  have been asked if  I can provide a color choice option for m/Lady's gown, and that answer is a firm no. All the beads included in our kit are antique, and the logistics and time it would take me to work up & find coordinating colors of antique beads is just something Im not even going to get into. So,  in the class kit there will be all antique beads provided to work your Ladye in a blue gown, like is shown on the cover of the class pamphlet~ exactly those beads actually~ but if you would like to work your girl in a different color, say, yellow or pink...I will give you bead amounts and sizes you will need to look for that you can bring to class with you. (Kits will remain same price, and antique blue palette beads included even if you want to work your girl in a different color)

I am still busy making and painting slate frames and palettes~ I try and rotate things I am working on evenly to keep wait times to a minimum. I have been working on a little something special for eBay too, that is just about ready to paint that I'm pretty excited about....just to tease you a little!!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

New on eBay this week

A Palette for SPOOLS!!! YAY

For folks, like me, who stitch with silk & threads on spools.....I designed this palette to hold those little buggers nice and secure! I am currently stitching with filament silk and ANY little thing would snag on my spools and zoom...off they would go onto the floor. Well not any more~ I designed a new palette, for spools~ made me one and love love love it!  

 Center is painted with my signature roses and pansies

    No more messy sewing or side tables! Now you can keep your spools nice and tidy, and right where you need them! If you like this one,  made from a pretty piece of oak, its on ebay this week! 
 You can see it here , or click the link to my eBay specials on the right sidebar

Monday, February 06, 2017

on eBay this week!

New Flemish Fantasy Thread Palette Set
 Ever since I made the Flemish Slate Frame, I have wanted to translate that to a thread palette set and finally finished it!  It is by far and far, the most favorite yet of all the palette sets I have made. I designed a new shape thread palette as well, with even more holes~ 24! What makes this set extra special, is the addition of 22k gold that I brushed on over the paint~ it sparkles so pretty!

 I designed the shape of the thread winders after Flemish door designs~ all three are different and this one is my favorite~ if you would like to see the other two, and place a bid if you love it~ the set is available on eBay this week and you can find it here , or click on the link in the sidebar to my eBay specials. 

Not only are the fronts of the winders gilt, but the edges as well (forgot to add that to the eBay listing)

Both front and back of the palette is painted...I really love this design...maybe I need to make a box.......

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Flat Top Casket Progress

A new Love....
 I really love working on my casket~ I wish I could work on it all day, and some of the night, every day & night! It really is that enjoyable for me. Stumpwork is the ultimate puzzle in my opinion~ one has to figure out how to make realistic (or not) representations of what we have seen in the world~ what part needs to be made first....what stitches one will use...what colors one will use~ forget trying to work a 3 page calculus problem to give you brain a workout...just try and figure out how to make a squirrel out of beads! I was quite happy with my squirrel...and then I worked this flower....y...u...k...!
Just didnt like it. nope. not at all. The technique I used for the petals, specifically beading the wire around the outside edge of each, really made it more bold looking that I wanted~and I didnt like the inside section of petals....the three pinks looked like good gradations of each other in the pots, but on the flower~ nope, didnt like it. And then there is that stem. ::sigh:: 
I wanted to incorporate some 'plain' opaque beads in the design, and really liked this color of green....but eeeeewwwwww...not on this flower!  So....don't be afraid to unpick what took you hours and hours of work to do in the first place in order to fix a problem early on....instead of getting so far along otherwise you decide you can just live with it....and end up hating looking at the thing because it drives you crazy! This flower drove me insane, so out it came along with that nasty, hideous stem.

 This is the rose with center petals unpicked...and of coarse all my flowers have a happy little bee hovering on a wire overhead!

 For the reworked stem I went with a dark green that matched the part of the mound it was sprouting forth out of, and with the leaf added, yes, I like it now!

I left this one a little large so you can see the details~ this is one completed side frieze~ YAY!


 My other side frieze had two animals planned, along with another rose and two snails. At first, I admit the animals were a bit of a hurdle...they gave me a little anxiety as when I designed my casket, I designed what I liked, and paid no matter what so ever as to how I was ever going to work them. Once I made the squirrel tho,  they werent so scary and I jumped right in with the dog first. He has a blue glass eye, separate eyelid, whiskers, collar, ears and tail. His tail is tubular twilling and when I had finished him in my hand, if I pushed on his tummy, his tail would wag and Oh my GOLLY! was it ever cute! For a little while I thought about how I could make it wag on my panel/casket...but I decided I had enough going on to have to worry about his tail wagging....and the last thing I want to see, is a bunch of outstretched fingers wanting to push on every animal on my casket to see if it moves.

 Bunny came next, and here I took the opportunity to try out a color scheme I want to use on my unicorns on the back panel. He has no tail yet in this picture, but its a great view of his ears~

And alas, with this last side panel ~ all of my friezes are now complete! I am quite busy with work so it may be some time before I am able to work on my casket again....until then, I bead all night in my dreams, figuring out colors and stitches to use...when I ever get to it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Bad Hair Day?

A Trip to Ye Ole Wigmaker.....

  I have been so busy I havent had time to share many dollys with you lately. Now that this pair of Queen Anne dollys are at their new home, I can share them with you.  I thought you may like to see some in progress pictures of how I style my wigs...Ye Ole Wigmaker.....aka...Ye Old Me!  ha
Patience is a sweet girl~ her owner ordered an over the top Queen with all the frills, so she got a custom made, period correct saque back gown, with literally yards and yards of trim. I stitched trim for days. There is nearly 2 yards of silk in this gown...on an 18" doll!  For her wig, I chose one of my Icelandic sheep skin pelts~ in this picture she is just trying on a bit for color and length of hair.....

  There are many shades of white, even on a single pelt the color hue can change from one area to the next. After cutting the skin to stitch the skull cap, the hair is washed, again, dried and combed out. It looks like shes got a lot of hair...but for a pompadour, one needs alot of hair...and then some extra

  With a certain style in mind, the hair is sectioned into parts~ the length in the back is braided and will be tied up tall on the crown~ this was a popular way to dress long hair in the 1750s.

 The crown has been tidy'd and braid stitched in place~ to the sides you can see two sets of long curls being set
 Once dry, the curls are drawn up and set on each side...starting to look nice now! I like to either stitch or pin the curls in place.

 I am including this picture just cause I really liked doing the tags this way~ this is how I always make tags of doll pairs~ I draw up the back and then cut it in half, so each dolly has a half.

 My customer stipulated that she wanted her Queen to be a 'Stitching Ladye'..... so....if you stitch you simply must have a working slate frame!
I can say, this is the smallest working slate frame I have ever seen(or made)!

 Her beau, Msr Isaac, is such a thoughtful fellow~ he has gifted Patience a new slate frame for her birthday~ I love his profile here....

 Here they are posing for their picture....but he is looking at me like,  'Please....just take the picture already'.....
 Her frame is dressed and ready to stitch with a hint of silk....ready for her owner to stitch a little something on!