Assessment piece – towards the light at the end of the tunnel!

I love this screen on a window looking out from the women’s quarters in Topkapi Palace and wondered how I might incorporate it into the piece.  I decided that, rather than stitch onto the piece itself, I would stitch onto soluble fabric and wash away.  The photo mockup had potential, but was maybe a bit complex.  Then, when I experimented with this, I couldn’t avoid the spider’s web effect rather than a solid round shape.  Experimenting with vanishing muslin wasn’t much better, so in the end I decided a simple grid pattern would look better – it gives the effect of looking out into the outside world of mosques, but is not so intricate that the eye is taken by the pattern rather than looking through.

The ends of the bars will be stitched down.

I have left the central pattern open, so as to be able to see through more clearly onto the mosque shapes (reflecting today’s more secular society) where I have done a lot more stitching, though felt I needed to extend the grid slightly into it.  I think I will get rid of thetwo dome lines that cross from the left panel to the central one.  I am still not sure whether there is enough stitching,  maybe in all three panels?  Does the stitching on the sides look bitty and does it matter that there is on open area of blue in the top right corner of the central panel?

I have done some experiments on the side border design.  I like the right hand one, though the stitch on this is very rough.  The correct design will be as per the tracing above, with the gold prints done first.

I think the top screened area and the tiles now balance each other quite well, but I am still uncertain how to proceed with the bottom part.  It obviously needs more stitching and I am still drawn to the idea of granite stitch. but I don’t want to totally cover the bondaweb colours or the shapes of the domes.

January 3rd 2013

The stitching is done on the top areas!

I’ve been working on the lower section.  This is a full size sketch.  I wanted the cobbles to recided into the distance so reduced their size from front to back, as well as narrowing the overall shapes.  I then felt the whole thing needed more stitching so I restitched the dome shapes with metallic thread and added roof lines in the same way as the domes in the top area.  I also added a little more colour to the some top areas of the bondaweb to reinforce the idea of horizon.

I am pleased with this border, I think the delicate stitching over the stencil prints is just right.






















I found another photo of a window screen in the Topkapi Palace with curved ironwork.

This traced design shows the effect it would have.  I can’t make up my mind which I prefer.  This one is more authentic  whereas the square grid echoes the shape of the tiles.

 January 9th 2013

Here are the completed screens, having decided the curved shapes work much better.  I have stitched only the ends down so that the body hangs loose and looks more 3-dimensional.

When I looked again at the images of the arches in the Palace,  you could see the blocks done in alternate colours, so I first stitched patterns onto the exisating shapes.  Then I added the appliquéd shapes so you can still see the patterns behind.

The final borders trimmed and ready to attach. I notice one of the beads has slipped slightly.  They are loose at present so i think I will add a hand stitch to secure them in place.

Assessment piece – further work

I’ve done a lot more playing around with the tiles.  I’ve moved the tiles down by removing the third tile on the far right, which gives a much better positioning.  this means the missing moulding paste tiles are no longer correctly placed but I can see where these will go and I will also put a little paste between each tile. I thought a stenciled tile (probably a little fainter than shown here) would work well in the missing spaces and make sense of the middle tile of stem and leaves.  I’ve also reduced the size of the top and bottom red tiles.  I moved the two border tiles on the left into the exterior border.  I then added some torn strips of tile print into the arched shapes at the bottom (second image below) to re-enforce the tile theme.  I haven’t yet decided the final placing of the strips – whether to have them in all three arches or not.  And because I will have a couple of strips extending into the border, I moved the two left hand tiles back to their original placings. The painted bondaweb will extend throughout the whole arch which I hope gives depth to the idea of looking through the arch and I thought to extend scraps of bondaweb into the lower border.  I will shorten the arches slightly so only the right hand border tile protrudes into it. The other tiles will be just above the top of the arches.

I tried out some more ideas on the fabric mockup.  I like the idea of tearing the paper closer to the actual minaret shapes so will do this more.  I inked and then stitched the dome and arch shapes.  The tiles are obviously not in the correct place, but I wanted to try hand stitching one with the edges turned in.  I don’t feel this works – the fabric is so heavy and loosely woven that I didn’t feel it was neat enough, so I have settled on the shape on the right which is machine stitched with a long zigzag in the same colour thread as the fabric so it hardly shows.  I tried the stencil on the border but don’t feel this works, so won’t use it. I’ve also enlarged the border from 3 to 4 cms on the fabric mockup below.  I’m not sure about this but I think the final decision will have to wait until I see the three panels stitched and placed together.

I’m having to rethink the top and bottom edgings.  Just stitching onto soluble will be too flimsy.  I thought of stitching onto scrim and soluble but again too flimsy, won’t look right.  My latest idea is to use felt and burn away the edges.  I want to make small paper beads to hang on the tassels.  I would also have to make holes in the felt through which to thread the tassels.

September 17th

Here is the work I have done so far on the finished piece, with detailed pics below.

I think I prefer the dark background betwen the panels. It is a piece of almost black indigo cloth.  I don’t have enought to do the entire backing with, so will use two pieces where the gaps are sown onto the red fabric which will form the backing ( I would have had to use two panels of red anyway to show the front of the fabric).  I’ve used a mix of gold and copper threads for the stitching on the domes and minaret.  I am undecided whether I need more stitching or whether this is enough.  I want suggestion rather than overstatement.

I only used one layer of felt behind the tiles, having used some iron-on interfacing to anchor the threads at the back.  Possibly I should have used two layers.  The print on to the moulding paste was done with an expanded foam tulip shape to give a faint undefined shape.  I have yet to add the tile images within the domes and I am thinking of adding some granite stitch in gold which will meander into the border.  I haven’t yet decided on the width of the borders, nor have I  experimented with the top and bottom borders.

December 20th

I have decided to have the red borders at 2 cms top and bottom, 5 at the sides.  With the additional top and bottom edge borders I think this will balance well.

I think the experiment below will work well for the top and bottom borders. The tassel needs to be a little longer and fuller.

I haven’t trimmed these borders yet.  They will actually end at the stitching and will be stitched or tacked in place on the main work before I add the backing, so as to get them in the correst place.   The lutradur has been burnt back in places.

This cord will be threaded through the eylets and looped round a pole.





I will use these threads to make the tassels hanging from the bottom border.





This is some paper I ahd left over from earlier work, layering and painting dye spotted kitchen paper and napkins.  I’ll add a bit of copper and gold paint as there is a bit too much pink in the paper.