Christus Natus Est – Introduction
A couple of years ago, my mother painted an absolute cracker of a painting – a semi abstract Nativity, which she entitled Christus Natus Est (Christ in Born). At the time it occurred to me that it might make a good design for an embroidery, and now I have decided on the style I am going to use – or nué.
Obviously I am going to change it somewhat, since the techniques of embroidery and oil painting are so different. For one thing, the background of closely spaced gold threads will be striking, effective, and rather reminiscent of an icon. So rather than covering the gold with coloured silk, the background will be left clear. Also, I don’t think I can hope to create the same subtlety of colour in the figures, so I will use only two or three shades of each colour.
Classic or nué uses straight rows of gold, but in her book All That Glitters, Alison Cole suggests spiralling and curving lines, so I am going to try that.
The first stage is to work out precisely how I am going to simplify the design and transfer that to the backing fabric. As none of it will be seen, I can simply use calico, and colour it with fabric paints.
Then I have to plan the placement of the spiral and curving lines. The obvious thing to do is to centre the circle on the Christ-child, but I think that is too obvious and will make a rather stiff design. Instead I will use a larger circle, centred between the Child and His Mother.
The original painting was one metre by one and a half, and clearly I won’t be embroidering it that big – it is going to be more like three inches by eight!