Sunday, 3 May 2009

Ok, so I wont be winning any blogger of the year awards, seeing as my last post was in late 2007. 

Above images show a textile sample with gilded device and a paper sketch, with gilding, both sent to client. I will try to get client's permission to post an image of the flag in situ.

I was in the shed today and mused about the blog and for some reason thought it was only a few months ago. I was wrong. 

A brief recap on the projects mentioned:

Helmet flag for UK client, went well, I still have reservations about the way he wanted the flag to fly, I don;t think it looked right in that context, in others it might have done.

The US client was over the moon with the purple silk with modelled gilded figures, (click here) I confess to having been rather proud of that project and saw it very much as a labour of love and gladly put my all into it. I wanted to manage the project from a soley modern design led method. Agree brief with the client, sent samples of the idea to the client to agree style and content, plus samples of the intended silk, have design approval, finish project. As it happens there was very little different in that approach to the medievals, ok they didn't have to sort out UPS and send what was a simple job in medieval terms half way across the globe. But the agreement of ideas and style with an acceptance of the artist's personal touch goes way back. As a trained graphic designer it is nice to know that some things have not changed. 

Other projects have included more written reproductions, a few pilgrim letters and some work for the Salt Museum, Northwich, Chester Writers Exhibition, where I was asked to produce and source a number of items that a literate (in the modern sense) late 14thc person might have. It appears that one iteration of Gawaine and the Green Knight was written in the Chester region, hence the request. The items included: pens, wax, paper, written items - namely a page from GatGK and two pen knives, one blunt for visitor handling and the other sharp for use. Both made by the late and very talented John Buttifint, who died last summer (2008) after a long battle with cancer. A finer man you could not want to have dealings with, a superb cutler and someone who relished a real challenge. It was an honour to attend his funeral, in my view a good way of saying goodbye, swapping stories and also renewing old acquaintances. 

I am one of the many lucky people who own some of John's work, knives that are meant to cut, I cut pens and prepare my food with his items and by so doing I remember a decent man and a fantastic craftsman.

Back to weld. I have to send the rest of an order to a client, namely some weld reacted with chalk, to make a yellow colour. Fine, I boiled up some weld and alum and decanted the liquor, I then had the brain wave of making another batch with the leavings, to eke out the colour, I do think like a medieval chap sometimes, save, save, save. So I promptly provided some fresh pee and boiled it up. I left the mixture to steep on a low heat and went to chat to the next door neighbour about his back.  A while later the wife pops her head out and says the mixture is boiling over. I return to the kitchen and the wife complains that the house smells of urine.....oops. She was lucky it was fresh pee, the aged variety as is oft specified is a much headier brew. The yellow was good, although not for the client, for my own 'personal use'.

I have also dyed my new Sally Pointer statute cap, not being a dyer but being a nosey git I tried the old oak gall dye and to be honest was happily surprised with the result, I had to double dye it and the end product is a deepish blue grey, the first dyeing was more a purplish blue grey. There are some areas where the wool has gone very black, mainly because I did not have a pan big enough and I see areas of better steepage. The hat will get well used over the next few years, it will be interesting to see how the dye reacts to sweat and light etc and if the wool degrades appreciably. 

The best thing is I now have enough ink to last me about 8 lifetimes, anyone want some?


Theodora said...

Your work is just lovely. I was wondering if you have any construction details for the pennons you've made?

I've been making medieval-like pennons etc with modern silk paints (gutta, etc) which give you a nice look 20' away, but don't capture the originals medieval artwork like the things you're doing.

medievalpaint said...

Hi Theodora, apologies for not noticing this comment, for some reason the notifier is not working.

Construction details for the above pennon are very simple, a right angled triangle with the right angle at the base of the hoist. This seems to be very common and I suspect it is due to the economy of cutting the cloth, ie diagonally, rather than an isosceles triangle that would leave two right angled triangles loose.

For flags with large areas of colour or simple parti-coloured then it seems that cloths of different colours are sewn together, as some of the Burgundian ones seem to be. Plus for cheaper ones, flat areas of colour could be used too.

As for silk paints, I personally do not see the point, yes they offer an apparently easy way to separate the colour areas, but then using size or egg based paint you can do the same, plus much detailed painting is done with colour over colour. The time taken to simply paint the colours on must be much less than making wax or guttta barriers then ironing then rinsing etc. Not to mention the way the real colours sit on. Silk paints are more like dyes so creating a translucent effect, whilst some pigments do act like this especially if laid on as a wash or in the period known as 'stain', others are laid on opaquely. It depends on what effect you want. paint on silk in wash will look translucent anyway.

I suspect you might be on the AA as there are some threads about it there, I will endeavour to catch up with you.