The medieval world is full of monsters, imaginable and unimaginable mysterious creatures. One can find them especially in illuminated books and architectural decor.
Since I started taking an interest in Middle Ages culture and art, I was fascinated with the great imagination and creativity of the artists who were designing, drawing, painting and sculpting forms of animals which they have never seen, and some of them... which existed only in their thoughts.
From this fascination came to me an idea of embroidering a series of monsters.
Here is my first work: a Griffin.
|Pic. 1: Samuel Sadaune: "Le fantastique au Moyen Âge. Créatures imaginaires et mondes merveilleux", Edition Ouest-France, 2012, page 123.|
- Fabric - silk and wool blend, very dark navy blue.
- Threads - various silver metallic threads (vintage silver thread with dark core, bright matt Czech silver thread, Japanese Kreinik silver thread), vintage Corticelli silk embroidery thread - 8 colours.
I usually copy the image I want to work on onto printing paper, with a pencil. You can do it by printing an image (in this case I scanned a photo from a book), then sticking the image on a window with sellotape and placing blank printing paper over it. Then you can follow more easily the contours of the image, drawing with a pencil.
After - I work on the image contours by drawing until I am happy with the design; with the Griffin the main thing was to transform a 3D sculpture into a flat form. I wanted the Griffin to have a Byzantine-like form with its head 'en face'. And I wanted it to look at me!
When the design was ready I transferred it onto fabric using carbon paper.
|Pic. 2. Embroidering the face of the Griffin.|
|Pic. 3: Hand stitching hairy parts|
|Pic. 4: Embroidering wings and tail.|
|Pic. 5: body and talons|
|Pic.6: The dark side...|
|Pic. 7 The Griffin is done.|
|Pic. 8: the Griffin in artificial light, from an angle.|