Thursday, March 27, 2008

Progress on medieval stool

In the last picture I posted the stool pieces were mostly cut out but not assembled. Now the entire thing is assembled and waiting for the glue to dry. Then will be more sanding followed by application of finish. I learned a lot of lessons while making this piece and I suspect I have some more lessons coming as I go to apply my first finish.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A word about painting supplies and one of my favorite websites

In my Links section I have a link for the website of Natural Pigments, a fantastic supplier of traditional artists' materials.  They carry everything you need to make your own oil, tempera, encaustic, fresco, gouache and other types of paint.  Russian style icon painting and fresco painting workshops are held at various times and places during the year through their associated website,  I attended the week-long intensive icon painting workshop last year and learned so much, it was truly amazing!  Anyone interested in traditional materials, supplies or techniques should check out this website.  The people who run it are really nice, too.

Another good supplier is Kalish finest brushes at They are moderately priced and are a joy to use. For fine, precise work they are the best I ever used.

In the picture (because posts are more interesting with pictures) is the catalog, examples of some supplies, the icon of St. Nicholas I painted in the workshop, my cat Sophie, and some of the brushes I bought from Kalish Finest Brushes.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Maru dai bobbins

Work continues on my maru dai stand. I really wanted to make some bobbins for it so I could start using it even though I haven't finished sanding or gluing. First I tried the bobbins that look like spools but on those the thread is kept from unwinding by tying a certain kind of knot and I wasn't very good at that. My bobbins kept unwinding and it was giving me sour face.

Next I started on a version of bobbin I found in the book which is my primary source so far, The Big Book of Sling and Rope Braids by Rodrick Owen (ISBN-10: 0304348252, ISBN-13: 978-0304348251). I have used that book alone to teach myself braiding and so far, so good. This next bobbin was problematic; the corkscrew of wire that is inserted in the top of the dowel was hard to twist and impossible to make look nice and even. Then, I had an epiphany! I dug into my picture hanging kit box and took some brass loops, the kind that screw into the back of the picture frame that the picture hanging wire fastens to. The ends were pointed and threaded like wood screws (since they are supposed to be screwed into picture frame backs, go figure) so they went into the ends of my dowels really well (pilot holes helped!). Then I took a pair of pliers and pried the loop open so thread could fit in the loop and voila! it worked perfectly and looked attractive. I only made six since that is how many wooden discs I had so I photographed the stand with a sample four strand braid. It is sitting amongst the lavender in my newly renovated front yard.

Note in the picture that I used metal washers as counterweights; they are a little difficult to see in this picture. I liked them because I could vary the weight on the counterweight, also they fit perfectly on the 3/8" dowel so I can vary the weight (and thus tension) on the bobbins.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Embroidered pouch finished!

Here is a picture of the completed pouch. It came out really well and I am very happy with it. I placed on the grass in my yard to get a photo in natural light. The colors are really bright! Now to make more! Actually, I still have another blackwork cuffs set in progress and the wooden stool to finish. Then maybe I'll take a break and make something contemporary.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Finally my thread arrived!!

After a wait of what felt like six months, I finally received my backorder of silk thread. I was able to finish up the embroidery and am now in the process of making up the pouch. I have only to finish the holes for the drawstring and it will be done. I'll put up a picture when it is finished.

Cloisterstitch Needlebook

I decided to give cloisterstitch a try and here is my first effort. I used Medici wool on 28 count evenweave linen, lined with felted wool and the "pages" in the needlebook are the same burgandy felted wool. Maybe non-evenweave would have worked but I used what was handy. The edge and tie are fingerlooped wool braid.