Yes,it's been quite awhile. I have been working on one main project since early December. It is supposed to be a secret, but I'm not sure anyone is reading this anyway. My small fibre art support group has issued a challenge. We are to make "something", incorporating Celtic imagery or Symbols.
I decided to make another reliquary. I haven't done one in a few years, I had all of the supplies on hand, and had been hoping to re-visit some of the techniques I have used over the years. I re-read the book Beginners' Guide to Embroidered Boxes" by Janet Edmonds, as I have found many of her techniques useful over the years, but be assured, that the patterns and designs are my own. I selected purple from my supply of Duippionni silk, given its symbolic use for richness, and power, and gold as the complement, for the same reason.
An internet search of "Celtic Crosses" gave me some ideas on my decoration. The consistent image of the Celtic Cross is the circle behind a cross, in which the arms become large as you move away from the centre. An open circle or rounded square can represent the rune for God, and the oldest known religious image--the triple spiral, is found on Celtic tombs. I have always tried to incorporate some form of spiral in my recent work, so this works well.
The circles and crosses were worked separately,and appliqued. I used Flexi-Firm, which is quite similar in feel and use, as Timtex. This is about 1/8" thick, so shapes must be cut out before painting, in order to colour the edges. I used Lumiere True Gold paint, but from an older bottle. It was quite thick and had to be diluted with a bit of water. Once the painted pieces had dried, I noticed that there were areas that hadn't been adequately covered by the paint. When re-painting, I realized that the diluted paint has sealed the surface, somewhat, and the second layer of paint didn't sink in, so was richer, resulting in a much more antique look, that I quite liked.
As much of thew work as possible was done by machine. Quite a workout for the machine, but also a chance to use some of those fancy stitches. I was worried about the top metallic thread fraying terribly when doing the applique,but a strong Titanium coated, #90, top stitch needle did the work quite nicely.
So everything was done, about 60 hours of intense labour, and yesterday, I was ready to finally stitch it all together. Well, despite constant measuring during the process, THE BASE DIDN'T FIT THE TOP!!
Well lots of tears and bad words--some with four letters--I tackled it again this morning, and now have all of the pieces fitting properly. The rest of the work is by hand,and will be a slow process, but I can give you a preview. I really can't reveal the finished product until the challenge is presented to the group February 3rd.