One down, a gazillion or so to go…


First filler pattern for the labours. I’ve kept the palette very simple and just used the same orange and blue as I used for the borders of the main panels, plus white and dark brown, as I don’t want the fillers to compete with the main event. Looks very seventies, somehow, I’m sure my mum had a flowery cushion cover in that colourway when I was a kid.

The pattern is based on a c13th floor tile from an English abbey (I forget which one but if anyone’s desperate I’ll look it up), but it’s quite similar to the filler in the life of St Martin antependium held by the Cluny museum in Paris, which is a sister piece to the Reykjahlid antependium – filler patterns do tend to be much of a muchness.

I’ve been working this freehand – starting with the flower and working out, using the length of my left hand index finger to judge the length of each fleur – but I measured it before I began and this should be a nice fit. As I was measuring out filler 2 this morning I pondered upon whether much of the wonkiness in medieval embroidery is down to needlewomen working freehand, specially since many of them were probably just as shortsighted as me (because this project is done at work much of it has been done sans specs), because it’s only human to go a bit skewiff now and then, but when the pattern is simple and repeated it makes no sense to spend hours marking it out


~ by opusanglicanum on April 16, 2013.

8 Responses to “One down, a gazillion or so to go…”

  1. Probably a bit of both, but also, they don’t seem to have had the passion for exactness that the machine age has engendered. It’s clear they were capable of precision, because otherwise I can’t imagine cathedrals standing up, but they didn’t feel it was obligatory for everything!

  2. I agree with Rachel. You only have to look at some of the V&A’s German brickstitch pouches to see this. They are counted patterns, but there seems to often be no consideration as to whether whole patterns repeats are used, whether the pattern repeats are centred on a side or whether the back and front match.


    • I was wondering if that might have bene the case with the original of the book cover I’m working on, which is similarly lacking in coherance, but since it’s not complete it’s probably not the case

  3. I like the wonkiness and I love the idea that you are using your finger to measure – all that stuff about embodied work – this is a lovely example.

    • I tend to think I do things like this freehand because of a dangerous combination of laziness and competance – am competant enough to do it this way, and too bone idle to mark things out

  4. Hi! I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award! It’s a nice way of highlighting new and up and coming blogs. Find out more here

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