This box measures 14 1/2″ wide by 10 3/4″ high by 9 1/4″ deep, more in keeping with the original 17th century caskets used. I will cover the painted designs with white fleece giving a nicer background for the satin fabric which will have the stumpwork designs. I hope I can remove the feet and hardware and find more suitable trimmings. Continue reading
Above right are real gold and silver threads and some synthetic tinsel threads. All of the metals must be “couched” because metallics cannot be sewn through fabric. Couching is a method of laying the gold flat on the fabric and stitching over or around it using silk thread. You can stitch sparsely or thickly, thus achieving different effects. You can see where I have done this on the floral picture with a vase on an older post. The butterfly is a machine stitched piece that I am using for inspiration!
November 9, 2011: For the box interior, I need marbelized papers and Googled them yesterday. Found a good selection online, but decided I would rather see papers in person, so went over to Palm Beach today where there is a store called, appropriately enough, “Il Papiro,” which has its main store in Florence, Italy. I’ve been to a couple of their stores in Italy and simply drooled. The listing shows that there are about 50 of these stores and they are a franchise, so watch for one coming to your area. This is what attracts me onPalm Beach Island, not all the haute couture shops.
Anyway, I feel I was right buying in person so I could see, touch and match the three sheets I purchased which are 28″ long x 20″ high. These were sale items because there were some drips or flaws on them. I ended up with something unusual for me… shades of brown marbelizing, shading to cream with a pinkish cast. I liked how it blended with my UFO bargello (see the bargello design with my initials, CF, stitched in the center), which I brought with me. Nothing else worked, either they didn’t have enough of one colorway or some were too garish for my taste.
Also found something wonderful at this shop … for the inner lid of the casket, found an antique-looking print of a Tuscan villa surrounded by a geometric shaped garden and all framed within an arched design. The print runs short of the whole lid, so will mount it on a piece of marble paper. Originally, I planned to have a mirror cut to order to put inside the lid but was concerned because the lid is very heavy already. I think this will look wonderful and goes beautifully with the brown marble papers. I realize this is a Tuscan print and not English, but one must make accommodations on occasion! These boxes should represent the maker’s life and this will be a tribute to my Italy trips, like the Grand Tours that were taken in the 18th century.
I plan to fit out the box interior using gatorboard which I can cut up to size once I plan it all out. I hope I got enough of the marble paper to cover the insides and outsides of these gatorboard pieces, there are several pieces of this color still left in the shop. When handling the objects made for Il Papiro, I know they are a very heavy cardboard but I wouldn’t be able to cut (or find) that weight. Think this is a good solution for interior trays and divisions and if I could figure it out, a hidden space. I would really like to do that. The inside space is only 5 or 6″ deep, so can’t do too much with it. It will be drop-in trays pulled to be pulled up with ribbon straps, not little drawers, I think. Now I need to find old satin ribbons and matching silk for joins and various parts (do I hear a trip up to Tinsel Traders in New York City coming…nah, not going anywhere).
Bought stretcher strips at Michael’s today to mount the embroidery fabric. I love to use my 10″ English made standing embroidery hoop but am concerned that it would make marks on the satin no matter how much I wrap the top and bottom hoops with bias tape. I have seen satin get marked up in the past and when I learned silk and metal thread work, was trained to mount onto stretcher strips. Most inconvenient to stitch this way because I have short arms and the stretcher strips are 22″ X 14.” Hope the wood is long enough, forgot to measure the box before I left home in a hurry this morning, but I can still exchange them. Also have to use a support thing I don’t like…you sit on a wooden base and clamp the strips onto it so you can stitch with one hand beneath and one hand on top. I know I will be grousing about this when the time comes.
Will spend part of this evening studying my books on stumpwork (while watching Dancing with the Stars) to see what they recommend. I may be off-base with my ideas, but this is where I am today!
(The background picture of the blog is a blown-up version of the pictures shown here).
The goodies for the box are mostly things I’ve always had and been hidden away in a hat box for years. Have my mothers wedding handkerchief, my wedding handkerchief with a “C” embroidered on it along with my garter, a lace hanky I bought in Bruges on my first visit there, other odd pieces of very delicate lace that fascinated me including a round piece of Teneriffe lace, and two crystal scent bottles with their stoppers or they could have been for some other purpose…to me they are scent bottles.
Also have a bargello UFO (unfinished object) that I did ages ago with my initials in the center…was going to make a purse with it but I like it better left undone and put here. It will give me my colorway (pinky/peachy) for the marbled paper and trims. I had been wondering what colors I would use in the box, but this set the tone. There is an old small rectangular box with a painted scene from Europe…probably Switzerland judging from the church towers, the etui I mentioned, a steel souvenir mirror from the SS Oceanic, a couple of little Limoges pieces and a few packets of very old and very little #11 Sharps (needles) from H. Milward & Sons.
November 5, 2011: Now, my exciting news… I spent the day at an antique show and found a box which I believe will be useable for my casket! It isn’t the same as a typical casket like Tricia is offering with front-closing doors that close over small drawers, but it is a pine box circa 1820, measuring about 20′ wide, 12″ deep and 6″ high. It has a crack in the base and a repair on the top panel, so I didn’t pay an awful lot. Being pine, it is quite heavy but has a nice brass clasp in front and sturdy hinges on the back. I will stitch my figures on cream colored satin fabric with silk threads that I have and attach to the cabinet without marring its surface so the original box won’t be destroyed. I didn’t tell the sellers what I am doing, didn’t want to upset them. The lady had to be about 90 and her handsome hunk of a son carried it out to my car.
I want to construct some interior trays that I can lift out which will hold my “trinkets.” I could have gone wild getting trinkets at the antique show, but was pretty good about that because as I wandered around seeing some great items, I kept remembering all the little items I have collected in my life which will go in here. I have an antique etui, which Webster’s defines as “a case for one or several small articles, esp. a box in which scissors, tweezers and other articles of toilet or daily use are carried.” It is oval, perhaps 5″ long, made of dark brown tortoiseshell with an inlaid gold band on the top and fitted in specific compartments, contains gold dipped sewing implements except a gold needle, which shouldn’t be too hard to find. I have my mother’s wedding handkerchief from the 1930’s and a wonderful mauve velvet covered pincushion with a woven base (not old) that I love. I have a number of other items, but I have to find them and that is tonight’s project for me.
So as they say, I turned a sow’s ear into …well, I forgot what it is they say, but I made lemonade out of lemons! And I am happy!