Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Buttons from the Brain Watkins Collection

 I am not sure what this wooden box held when it was first purchased, chocolates in a wooden box seems a little unusual, the design on the front of the box has an Art Nouveau feel, and if so would date the box to late 1800's to early 1900's.  When I first saw it, there were 442 buttons in it.  

Would you like to see some my curious darlings?

Keeping in the theme of the wooden box, lets start with these, not buttons, but wooden moulds for buttons.  I wish you could get these today, cos I hate the covered button kits that are are available now, plastic and junky.  Imagine the buttons you could make with these wonderful wooden moulds.  The wonderful thing about the wooden chocolate box, is that its contents reveal the whole construction process of how these moulds were used, to make beautiful hand crafted buttons.

On the left is a mould with a round of padding over the top, and a layer of cream fabric over this, (ignore the 3 stitches you see on the mould as these were sewn by me to hold the mould onto the display panel it has been mounted on).

The covering fabric was placed over the padding, gathered at the back and sewn in place. 

This button looks like an early attempt.

This one by someone with a little more experience, and is a technique I have not seen before. 

This one is quite beautiful don't you think?

What would these buttons have been sewn onto, can you imagine the dress?  

And these little pink balls, which are not based on wooden moulds, but filled with a soft textile inner balls, are also made from a similar technique, aren't they the cutest things?  If anyone can help me with any information about this technique, it has got me stumped, and I would love to know what it was called and how it was done.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bead work piece from The Brain Watkins House

So here as promised, another textile delight from the Brain Watkins House, a bead work trim made by a skilled artisan, with a selection of fine glass beads used to create it.  

BWH 2004.0127.8 Image courtesy of the Tauranga Historical Society
Each square in the scale rule above the trim is 10mm long to give you an idea of the delicate detail. 


The trim has four diamantes running down the centre with an oval ring of copper rondelles, (flattened seed beads), and around this two rows of clear glass silver lined hex seed beads, with an outer row of gold seed beads.  On each side of this central oval, are three petals edged with gold seed beads, and filled with rows of iridescent grey/blue rondelles.  Running around the outside of each of these three petals is a rounded border with two rows of the clear glass silver lined hex seed beads with the outer edges finished with a row of gold coloured seed beads.
The backing fabric is an open weave canvas.  Note how the gold edging beads have been used to finish the edge of the fabric.

The backing stitches give us an idea as to how the beads were sewn on, in rows, rather that one at a time.

The questions I have are: who made this piece, was it a tailor / seamstress working in Tauranga, was it a textile trim purchased in Tauranga/Auckland, was it made overseas and imported into New Zealand, what era is it from, and what garment or accessory was it originally incorporated into?

So a beautiful little piece and I hope it inspires you to creativity, and to appreciate the skill of the person who made it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Poodle Collar

I have been inspired to create a piece of textile jewellery by a beautiful friend, who has ........ well it's kinda a wee, (obsession might be too strong a word), love of, passion for, attraction to, poodles.

This is a rough sketch of what I imagine the piece to look like when it is finished, although I think the scale of the circle is a little larger than I expect it to look when completed.  

 So this is what I have done so far.  The poodle is worked in antique seed beads on linen fabric.  The scale rule you can see down the side is 10cm long to give you an idea of the size of the finished piece, and the embroidery threads are the colours I was thinking of filling in the circle around the poodle.

The collar around the neck has two options, or more if you have another idea, cos this is all about you my poodle loving friend, and if you haven't got a Google account you need to get one so that you can become a follower, coz I am going for 30 followers, and that is the price you have to pay, (tee hee).  Anyway, I quite liked the houndstooth tweed shown in this image, for the collar, what do you think?

The other fabric we could use to cover the neck collar, is this beautiful Thai silk shown on the left of this image, it really is quite divine, but doesn't have the Co Co Chanel feel of the tweed, just a luxurious feel that is probably quite Parisian enough, n'est pas.  It's up to you my workoholic (oops did I say that out loud) darling, cos I would really appreciate your creative input on this one.  So let me know what you think, and I promise, not another stitch will be sewn until I hear back from you.  I am still waiting to lunch with you too, so push all those must do's aside and think of yourself and what you would like to do just for yourself, my creative, precious and wonderful friend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Little girl's dresses and doilies

You may remember the beautiful Princess Isabella.  Here she is wearing a sweet little dress inspired by the wonderful work of handmade doilies and retro fabric, and buttons.

Using a simple white cotton singlet as a foundation made the construction of this dress a quick little project.  The really wonderful thing of course is that some of these beautifully made hand crafts can be brought out into the world and enjoyed again.  Don't you love the sweetness of the apricot pink fabric, a retro Japanese made synthetic.

It was so much fun I had to make another one or two, this one was for little Maddi.

So as you look through those old doilies and wonder what on earth would I do with them now?  Let them inspire you to create new delights from old, there are so many possibilities for renewal.

Until we meet again, much love Jo Jo.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Butterick coat embroidery

Finally the embroidery of the coat is under way, it has been months since I started thinking about it,but I am sure my creative darlings,  that you understand about the flow of creativity, and how it is often about being in the right place, to work on the right piece, at the right time.  There are those sad pieces that end up tucked away in cupboards never to emerge again, lost in the desolation of a moment that was never quite found again.  However I am determined this coat is not going to be one of those.  


So this is the back, with the basic design off the tissue paper, basted through the tissue onto the coat fabric, and some of the trailing branches worked in stem stitch.  It was devilish hard getting the tissue off, but I have not got the luxury of a stand-alone embroidery table, or chalking paper.

Here is a great website if you want to see how to do a huge selection of embroidery stitches, it has clear easy to follow videos to show you how to work the stitches, a really great site, with heaps of information.

A detail of the basted outline of what will be the pink blossom, which I still have not quite decided how to do, a combination of ribbon, embroidery thread and beading I think.  I want to show you better images, but I do not have a camera, it has died and I have decided tomorrow I am going to bite the bullet and buy a new one.  So look forward to more posts as I will be up and running again.

The initial embroidery thread colours I have laid down as the trailing branches.

Possible ribbon colours I dug out of my stash.  I would like to do a technique with the ribbon I have used  before and tomorrow I will show you a little ribbon embroidery I have been working on, so that you can see what you think.  So I hope you like the colours, and I think I have decided on the lining too.  It is a printed Thai Silk I bought in Bangkok years ago, it has been sitting waiting patiently in its indolent glory for years, I will get it out and photograph it tomorrow.

So frustrated I will sign off in expectation of taking lots of photos tomorrow so I can show you some of the delights that I have found in the Brain Watkins House Collection, a chocolate box full of over 400 buttons, a wonderful piece of the finest bead work, and a rayon crepe blouse with some unusual and beautiful handwork.  So I will leave you with this thought until we find each other again:  

"We are here on earth to find our soul's joy".