Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I think this is needlelace with gold woven through

screen shot of the zoom of  16th century Italian camicia at the Met 
I am still without camera, but the embroidery is starting to come along.  I've got about 30 hours into it so far and the base work is done on the cuffs.  I've got loads of gold couching to do still, however.  Not to mention the neckband. Since I was feeling accomplished, I decided to go stare at one of the inspirations for my camicia, an extant shirt in the Met.  My first thought was that it was bobbin lace, especially because of all the color in the head or foot or whatever it is called.  Zooming in (after the pity party where I kicked stuff because I don't do bobbin lace) makes me think that it is actually needlelace, however.  I'm certainly seeing
what look like buttonhole stitches. The gold seems to be woven in.  It might in fact be something I can do. And now I'm wondering if I have a chance at finishing the dress sometime this year since I keep complicating the underwear.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sirena Bicaudata

Mermaid from Egenulf, 1527
I decided to go the easy route and use the mermaid and gryphon band pattern I found first in the Ostaus modelbook for the bands for neck and cuffs. I did a quick sample at about 3 inches wide and it will be rather beautiful I think. The unusual style of the camicia makes it a rather long band however, and I don't want to use it for the spot motifs after doing all of that. Something simpler is in order. So, I've continued to look for design inspiration.

I hit the jackpot with search terms earlier. Sirena Bicaudata brings up some wonderful flickr pools of historical mermaids. There's a gorgeous series of them from a 12th century Swiss church that I'm in love with. Not to mention a 1513 siren by Durer that is totally fabulous (keep scrolling in the first link.) This group of images, many of them architectural, is also tons of fun to go delving into.

I also found a siren pattern in one of my favorite modelbuchs, Christian Egenulf's 1527 Modelbuch aller art Nehewercks un Strickens. I love the goofy book because it is so very hand drawn. It doesn't have the slicker more etchy look of so many of the other books. Nor anything as formal as grid lines.  It is inspiring me to simplify the mermaids for the motifs and to just go for it. The date is also helpful for my early documentation.

And just to throw in one more design inspiration and make sure we keep it 16th century Italian, despite my drooling over sirens hither and thither and yon, here's a roundel from a print made in 1460-70's Florence. It's held in the British Museum and the curator's comments state that it was probably reference for ivory or wood carvers.