Saturday, November 21, 2015

Butterfly, net and silverpoint capers

The enforced cutting back of stitching hours to pamper my arm has resulted in a few great ideas, rushing in the fill the space.  The crocheted background for the butterfly piece is now shaping up as a net, so the butterflies are escaping the net.  This concept only just came clear to me as I was about to talk about it, so you never know what you have to say until you start saying it.

It also became knitted alternating with crocheted, so as to make varying sizes of holes in the fabric.  I used a large pair of well used wooden knitting needles courtesy of Mittens.

It's seen here draped on a lampshade, tres artistique, but in fact because the cats are not interested in playing with it if it's there. Much more of this to come. I pulled out the first part, because as it progressed, it needed to be different.

Then the second butterfly acquired a beaded back, tiny silver beads too small to thread, I put in a kind of bed of glue on the back of the butterfly, after I painted it with metallic acrylic paint.

top side


And the bigger one,

 now drawn out on the silk I plan to work it on.  It's hand dyed silk and I lined it with an ecru lacy piece of fabric, once a blouse or something, which will blend well with the crocheted net.

I'll wire the wings again, with copper wire.  I chose the colors I think I'll work in.  As I set out choices of threads, I found a lovely purl thread in a blueish turquoise, an Indian gift, and that will be part of it, too.  Purl, you remember, is like a fine coiled spring, which you cut and apply like beads, stretching slightly first to make them curve over into little arcs.

Here's a butterfly posing on a gift: a lovely handmade needle book from Margaret K.  I love it, and I've started populating it already with needles for this project.

Fine art also goes booming on, and here's an experiment I've been thinking about for maybe twenty years and finally got to do today.  No point in rushing these things. It's a silverpoint drawing, very rapid one.  Very faint, read on to see why

I saw a blog recently, sorry, if I remember the source I'll credit her, where the writer had done a silverpoint portrait of her mother, using a silver earring she'd owned.

This reminded me that silverpoint drawing as done by the masters is actually done with a silver wire.  If you are unfamiliar with this art medium, take a look here, and there will be drawings you recognize, I'll bet.  You can get fancy holders and fancy expensive drawing wire, but I wanted to shop in my own stuff.

So I rummaged through my jewelry box for sterling earrings and found a pair I'd given myself as a gift long ago at Peters Valley, handmade crafted design, beautiful, but too long for my taste. So now one of them is in the drawing department, opened up to work as a drawing tool.  

I used an emery board to roughen and remove any polished finish from the decorated end, and it made a nice silvery grey, very subtle line, hard to see in pix, but nonetheless nice.  And will probably darken as the silver tarnishes on the page.  

This is not a properly treated surface, but it was okay for the rapid drawing experiment I was doing today. You have to put down a better ground, so as to enable the silver to make a bolder mark, but even then it's hard to see in pix.

Silverpoint may or may not take its place among the mixed media textiles I'm working on, but I wanted to start developing the skill anyway.


  1. this project is coming along well and the butterflies are so delicate looking

  2. You are always teaching me new things. Looking forward to to seeing you play with silver.

  3. You make my mind whirl with all your ideas. Another interesting piece of art on the way. I am licking my lips in anticipation.

    The silverpoint is an interesting concept. I presume the art becomes more visible as the silver oxidizes?

  4. I have learned something new once again, having never heard of this before. It looks like fun.


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