Category : Goldwork
8 years, 3 months ago 2
Posted in: Blog, Goldwork, Work

The whole grill trend that was going through the teenage American community a year or two ago had me completely confused, but I couldn’t help but think it would make for a nifty piece of goldwork. This piece I finished last year, with vague ideas of continuing a series, but instead it languished forgotten in a box on my shelf until I started cleaning out my study last week.

The face is made of simple straight stitches in black silk, while the grill is made of check purl chips and smooth passing thread. Big thanks also go to the photographic expertise of foto di matti.


Grillz closeup

Or Nué Portrait Project
9 years, 11 months ago 0

It’s done! This work-in-progress has been preying on me for months and months and months, but last night I sat down and finished off the final couching and framed it. Just to remind you: this is what it looked like back in February, when I’d finally solved the problem of running out of string. Admittedly, it probably wasn’t that many hours of stitching that still needed to be done (I’m going to guess I put another 20 hours or so into it to finish it), but it was a just for fun project and not running on any deadlines.


The finished piece has a fantastic texture to it, that you can’t fully see from the frontal photo. The two types of strings I used are dramatically different in texture and size, with the lighter, yellower one being significantly thicker and higher.


The greyish string was much softer and more thread-like, which meant it acted quite differently when I couched it down. It was easier to squeeze into the sharp corners than the other string, but also was harder to keep in smooth lines when couching it down, and had a tendency to get squashed or come a little unravelled. As you can see below, some corners were a little tricky and it was difficult to get perfect coverage. From a distance you can’t see these imperfections, but it still annoys me a little that they’re there. I used two different coloured threads to couch down the respective string, and a dark brown to create the portrait. I only used stranded cotton on this project, figuring silk was far to fine and shiny for the effect I was after.


Now for the final conclusion: did I achieve the effect I was after? This whole project began as a vague idea in the back of my mind as to whether I could use the inherent characteristics of Or Nué (the flowing couched lines) to become an integral part of the design itself. The idea formed further when I saw a beautiful photo in a book several years ago of an elderly woman with a face full of laugh lines and wrinkles. The two ideas merged at some point and coalesced into a serious project when I took a photo of my husband’s eighty year old uncle at a family wedding last year.

In the end, I didn’t find a way to fully create what I had in mind: because you need to couch over the string at mostly right angles and I didn’t want to create monstrously thick lines by fully covering the string, I couldn’t quite get the string to create the flow of wrinkles I was after, and still allow me to couch the outline of his face. However, I’m still really happy with how it worked out, slightly different though it is from my original plan, and think it became quite a unique portrait.