Monday, May 16, 2011

Riona's Mermaids

My mermaids are a lot funkier than Tracy's beautiful denizens of the deep. These less glamorous creatures are from Workbasket's I Heard The Mermaids Singing. The title of the leaflet comes from T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. I stitched them when I needed some serious color therapy last winter. I was just so tired of the white out of all the snow and even more weary of the gritty grey of day old suburban roadside snow. Both are stitched using the recommended over-dyes and specialty fibers. The pair of mermaids is stitched on Silkweavers' Monster Mash 28ct linen and the single mermaid is stitched on Silkweaver's Marine Blue 28ct linen. I am planning on stitching the single mermaid again without the border on a more muted silvery sage green, Silkweaver's Meadow Mist. I am planning to use this frame on which I have started embellishing. You can see that I have painted a plain wooden frame in a sand with peach undertones and affixed some oyster shell fragments that have been polished by the waters of the Chesapeake Bay till they have a nice mother-of-pearl patina. My next step will be to spray about ten layers of clear acrylic varnish on the frame to give it a high gloss. Then I will carefully paint the quote from T.S. Eliot on the frame, apply morre varnish so that it will look as though the words are floating just below the surface of crystal clear water. Once, I have got that done, I will decide if a few pieces of beach glass should be added to the shell fragments or whether enough is enough. I enjoy putting together mixed media pieces.

And speaking of mixed media, I thought I'd share my current surface embroidery project with you: a piece of my own design called Fertile Circles. I know fertility symbols are more a pagan theme than a fantasy one, but like many here I am fascinated by mythology and ancient cultures with their rich religious symbology. I intend to finish this piece as a needlebook. At the moment I am working on the back with my initial rune. It is hard to see in the photograph but linen shows through between the rows of the flame stitching and I am currently concealing that annoying bit of pale linen while adding a little glitz with a doubled strand of the dreaded Kreinik blending filament in a copper color. After that it will just be a matter of couching the snake's body [a Thread Gatherer woolen fiber] to the front, winding it's way through the nests. Finally, I'll finish it up as a needlebook using some WDW wool for the pages. In case anyone is wondering how I formed the circles: I used plastic rings that you can buy in the notions section of any fabric store and covered them with closely spaced satin stitches and then decorated them by layering more stitching over the satin stitches. I used a wide variety of fibers: metallics, overdyes, silks, wools, perles and blends. I chose to use autumnal colors because harvest time represents the end result of fertility. I know using sun colors rather than moon colors for fertility symbols is somewhat counterintuitive but that was my take on the theme: fertility made ripe.


Terry said...

Fantastic Stitching, I love your little mermaids. And your creativity on the frame is amazing. I love your pagan designs, i think they work in just fine on this board, we can stretch the fantasy theme as far as we want. Great work!

Tracy J said...

Your mermaid pieces are ADORABLE! I love the bright colors and I love the folk art style. I have many folk art pieces too.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

The mermaids are so cute! The needlebook will look great when it's all stitched up. I like your thinking about the design and how you've put it all together.
Have you seen Jill Rensel's blog for her framing? She does the most amazing frames and hand painted mounts for people's work. It is quite inspiring.
The closest I've got is buying some unvarnished wood frames and colouring them with felt-tip pens. They are really effective.
Here is a Xmas design:
and here is a Lisa Roswell Halloween: