|Block printed linen in Victoria and Albert Museum. Italian 1350-1400|
Cappotto is basically stalled with the second guard to go. I think I'm going to put it aside for awhile and actually finish something before I get bogged down in it. I was going to do the corset next and start the dress so I'd feel really accomplished, but I have lost 13 pounds in the last 3 weeks (YAY!) so I'm going to wait as I had originally planned and do it really close to the end. I know that isn't the best plan and puts me in danger of not finishing the dress, but I really don't want a dress that doesn't fit when I'm through
So, tomorrow's plan is to try some block printing of fabric using the instructions from Cennini's Il Libro dell'Arte. He discusses block printing on fabric in chapter 173 "The way to work on cloth by printing from a shape in color (lavorare colla forma dipinti in panno.)" The linen is stretched on a frame and then the color is applied to the block with the palm of a gloved hand. The block is brought to the fabric from the bottom and burnished by another board on top in order to make the impression. Once the outline is in place the fabric is removed from the frame, spread out on a table and other colors "without body" are applied with a brush. I think my Q-snap quilting frame that I use for large scale embroidery will make a good substitution for the wooden stretcher frame. I had considered carving a block, but I might cheat and use some large stamps instead.
The plan is to print enough blue linen to make drawers. Cennini specifically says when using light blue fabric (biava) to use biacca or white lead for the outlines rather than black. He follows that up with basically says to mix your colors with the grounds as you fancy and feel go together, "one thing will teach you another, both by practice and the knowledge given by your intelligence. The reason? that every art is in its nature ingenious and pleasing: che ne piglia se n'ha (he that takes, hath). And similarly the contrary happens."
I will be doing white (not lead) for my outlines and then adding some gold for color. Guess we'll see how it goes. The way I figure it, if I do a terrible job, they're drawers and really won't be seen much anyway. I've been dieing to try printing fabric and collecting documentation on it for quite some time now so figured now is as good a time to start as any.