Sunday, 19 June 2011

Field of the Cloth of Gold

The requirements list was deceptively simple – so why did I fill the boot of my car as usual?  In fact it turned out to be even more simple because Jean Littlejohn provided us with nearly everything we needed.

The title of the course was intriguing, and when we saw Jean’s finished piece all was revealed.  We were to make a piece that dazzled and shone: not too large and able to be taken home finished.  Bliss.

Jean gave us a piece of green, soft wool suiting to work on and we chose thick wools to sew with.  Jean is very fond of using just one stitch – it lessens the choice and you can get started straight away.  We were to work in detached chain and we should have a plan.  Our design could be a field – corn, flowers – small at the top, larger going down or a medieval design. 

First a piece of bondaweb to anchor rich gold foil.  Then stitch.  More bondaweb. More gold foil.  Secure with a piece of chiffon, add more stitching in gold thread and here is a piece of work fit for Henry VIII.  The effect was amazingly rich and so simple.  Jean has been exploring the embellisher for some time, and we were shown how she achieves such subtle effects with scrim and sheers and given the opportunity to have a go ourselves.  The suitcase of work she brought was varied and exciting.  

We saw her sketch books, heard about her inspirations, travels and the new little person in her life.  We shared our experiences, were given permission to open our Mulberry Silks and had loads of laughs.  All this and she was off to New York in the morning.  What a privilege to work with a person so generous with her time and expertise.
By Sally Stapleton

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