Tag: Mounting my work

Finishing The Family

Grainy phone picture of hands working on something set up on an ironing board.

The next challenge was to work out how to attach the Family to the navy blue velvet stele I had prepared for them. It was a bit too awkwardly sized for the various tables I have tried to work on – or they were at entirely the wrong height – so I ended up perched on a stool beside the ironing board.

What’s the phrase? Adapt, improvise, and overcome!

Close up of a curved needle, mid-stitch.

I keep trying to make use of my Grandmama’s curved needles. For some reason it has become one of those skills I am determined to master. Goodness, I wish I’d asked Grandmama how she managed!

In this case, I began to feel that maybe I was getting the hang of the idea. Gradually. Work speeded up a little after I managed to remove a burr from the point, restoring the proper sharpness.

Photographer hard at work, the Family upside down on their easel.

I was a bit baffled to begin with as to how to remove that burr, but a question on Mastodon elicited several replies in varying detail. I used a nail file, since you ask (lowest tech solution), although one of my friends suggested a dart sharpener – which I never even knew was a thing that existed!

I have a lot of mounting embroidery in my future, so I suppose I am going to get the hang of it – or go stark crazy, of course, always an option!

Anyway, several stitching sessions later – the Family had to stand on their heads for their closeups, to bring themselves into reasonable range of the camera!

Mounting the Head of Nefertiti

As regular readers are well aware, when in doubt I have a policy of benign neglect which allows ideas to ebb and flow until something filters to the surface as The Right Idea. Sometimes this takes longer than others, although I have noticed that recently I’m getting ideas a bit more quickly.

Finished Head Of Nefertiti
Head Of Nefertiti

Or maybe it’s just everything coming to a head, all at once!

Nefertiti came off her frame after I’d finished her (in 2017, dear heavens above!), and then went into a box while I tackled such hair raising adventures as the Colossus of Akhenaten and the Amarna Family Group. This was partly because that seemed safest, and partly because I hadn’t the vaguest idea how I was going to display her. She certainly couldn’t be mounted on anything that would move, or suffer abrasion, not with the sort of gold thread I had used, but I have a deep aversion to mounting embroidery behind glass, except in particular circumstances.

So what I needed to find was some way to mount, frame, and display the Head of Nefertiti in a way that would be satisfying and sufficient, that that would allow her to stand alone, with no glass, no frame, but nevertheless complete. I’m not sure when the idea finally swam to the surface, but I had a thought that maybe what she needed was cloth-of-gold.

Hairpins entangled with cotton tapes

Then I found some!

Not the real thing, unfortunately, but at least I found something rather spectacular, that clearly had the idea of cloth-of-gold somewhere in its family tree. Then the difficulty became how to make the assembly work. The wretched stuff frays, pulls, and crumples. Then it didn’t iron nicely – but it responded well to being steamed under tension and ironed on the back, so that was well in the end! Next, the frame my friendly carpenter made had a front of foamcore attached, with slots corresponding to the slots in a separate piece of card attached behind Nefertiti, through which I had threaded cotton tape. The foamcore was covered with padding and then the “cloth-of-gold”, and then, with some trepidation, I cut through the padding and the gold from the back. I’ve reinforced the cuts with fabric glue, to inhibit fraying.

The head of Nefertiti, mounted on gold cloth, on set at the photographer's.

Then I resurrected a hairpin-as-hook trick I used to use to fasten my character shoes in ballet class (buttonhooks being no longer available, in these degenerate days!) to pull the ends of the tape through to the back, pulled the tapes tight, and tied two bows.

This of course skates over a lot of fussing and measuring, stretching and stapling, anxiety and tension, but I’m sure most of you have had similar experiences and don’t need every detail!

However, the final result is what you see here – Nefertiti, The King’s Great Royal Wife, At Whose Coming One Rejoices – on set at Bernard Rose’s studio, ready for her close up and commanding the stage.

Worth waiting for, I think!

Framing the Family

The Amarna Family Group, with a roughly attached ribbon frame.

We left the Amarna Family lurking at the far side of the living room, surrounded by coloured ribbon. I was very certain it was better than the gold, but I wanted to be sure I was happy that there was nothing better somewhere at the back of my mind.

After rather longer than is evident in the gap between the posts on the subject (doing and writing often get thoroughly out of sync, for me), I decided that it was probably the best presentation I was going to invent, and needed to be done properly. The ribbons were already attached, so the next stage would be to make sure the corners were made neat and square, and the attachment was secure.

Secure, and not too noticeable.

The ribbon is being attached to the gold using red silk over a navy thread.

I was a little afraid that the join might leave the fabric showing, or otherwise draw attention to itself, so after a little thought, I decided to overstitch a navy thread (stele-coloured, as it were) with red silk. I’m hoping that because it’s not a single colour, the join will be slightly camouflaged. I did consider gold, but decided in the end that camouflage-by-lighting was not my aim!

The whole process took a couple of days, because holding the navy thread at the right angle and tension was something that required frequent breaks to avoid cramping fingers.

A forest of pins holding the ribbons in place on a large foam board.

Each corner then required some manipulation to make it work, so once I felt I had the corners mostly settled, I pressed them (not the goldwork!) very, very cautiously.

And then pinned them down very thoroughly, and turned my back for a few days!