Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Mellerstain Tapestry Project

Mellerstain Tapestry embroidered by jojo sabalvaro tan from kit by The Crewel Work Company (16" x 20")

After I saw the Bayeux Tapestry in Bayeux, France, I was itching to make an embroidery project similar to the Bayeux tapestry style which I blogged about earlier in  In Bayeux - Art, Architecture, History and Embroidery.  Across the street from the Bayeux Cathedral there is a little needlework shop selling embroidery kits and patterns based on sections of the original Bayeux tapestry. But, being one who analyzes all the choices, there was just not enough time to make a choice since we only had a few precious hours in Bayeux.  The shopkeeper  informed me  that their kits can be ordered from the store on line, so I decided that I would just wait and make my purchase from home.  As soon as I got home, I started scouring the net for Bayeux crewel embroidery projects, which are done with thicker wool threads instead of the thinner cotton threads or floss. My search took me in a different direction from the Bayeux Tapestry kits I was searching for when I came across the British embroidery company run by Phillipa Turnbull and her daughter, The Crewel Work Company (http://www.crewelwork.com/ ) , which specializes in historic British needlework. I decided to purchase a kit from them called the Mellerstain Firescreen. (purchase info here, if interested). I love the Jacobean style embroidery that flourished in the early 17th century and this pattern reminds me of the ones produced  during that period replete with fanciful and exotic flora and fauna.

Photo from www.crewelwork.com

I ordered the kit so I would get it in time for another one of our European vacations. I like to bring needlework on trips to work on to ease the wait at the airport, tedious airplane ride  and for down time at the hotel after a whole day of sightseeing. Unfortunately, this kit did not arrive in time for our trip which was a bit disappointing but then again, I pacified myself with the thought that I can just plan another trip somewhere. The kit arrived beautifully packaged and organized with the Jacobean linen twill screen printed with the design, Appleton 2 ply crewel wools and gold plated needles, along with instructions and stitching charts.
The Mellerstain Firescreen Kit
Sit-On Embroidery Hoop/Frame Holder
My friends and family know I have this thing about tools, gadgets and accessories for my projects. So I just had to buy this sit-on embroidery hoop frame to work on this project at home to keep in character with those 17th century ladies.

The actual embroidery of this project was completed in a span of almost  two and a half years. I took my time, embroidering bits while watching TV but most work was done when we go on trips. It was fun stitching satin, long and short, french knot stitches. It reminded me of the first time I learned how to embroider when in grade school. Back then I learned to embroider on a fine linen square that was to be a handkerchief. I used my handkerchief proudly, until I eventually lost it.  I am really happy with the way the Mellerstain tapestry turned out although I would like to stitch this again in slightly brighter color as I imagined the original from which this was based on would have been when it was first stitched. It does feel like I have just made a piece of needlework history. I am now in the process of preparing the tapestry for framing. It would have been nice yo use an antique firescreen frame just like the original they were a bit pricey and I can not be sure that the tapestry will fit.. So I just bought a stock  frame from a big box arts and crafts store with a 16"x 20" opening, it fits but the embroidered area touches the edge of the frame. I may have to go up in size a bit.

To be honest, I was sure this project would end up in my U.F.O. (unfinished objects) pile but working on it bit by bit, before I realized it I was done. Now, I am a little  sad it is completed.

Details of the birds

Details of the squirrel

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