Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Studio stuff


It's getting very warm in the studio and it's not always easy to sit and do white work with hot hands!
One little tool that I've been given does make things a lot easier, a pair of toothed tweezers. They are a medical tool, inexpensive, but they are brilliant for getting rid of bits of fluff and holding the thread securely when you are doing fine work. The ends have tiny 'teeth' which grip but do not damage,perfect for needlelace!

 
..and this is why. I am doing a large piece of raised lace with lichen like growth and sometimes I just need more grip. This one is being done on vellum in the traditional way but there is nothing else traditional about it. The threads will be unusual and so will the presentation. However, it will take a while to get this one made so in the meantime I have several small pieces on the go to stop me going mad!



Friday, 14 June 2019

The Slashed Doublet


  I have always been drawn to Tudor costume and the slashed patterns in the fabric. Some years ago I went to an exhibition of costume at the Queens' Gallery and there was a beautiful little jacket with bound edged slashes all edged with french knots.The level of detail was extraordinary and I squirreled it away in my mind for another time! Five years later the opportunity arose to have a go and so I tried to put as much detail into my little panel as in that doublet. The panel is part of a piece of work made for my medical residency where I have created objects to draw parallels between the worlds of textiles and surgery.

 For this panel I layered organza over taffeta to create a shot effect. There were three smaller panels which formed the final square and each piece was hand bound, gathered, slashed and embroidered. The panels were then laced together with silk ribbon tipped with silver aiguillettes.


Monday, 10 June 2019

Lots to tell


  It is very rare that I talk about the medical work on this blog for fear or frightening people away ! but I can share some details of my new piece with you now as it's all about embroidery and colour. I have created a folding cube toy which has nine embroidered or raised surfaces inspired by costume detail. It illustrates how surgeons understand some of the body by using conceptual space, if you need to know more then click here for my medical blog. I will devote a few posts to this beginning here with some 18thC trimming techniques.
 Above we have a tiny length of passementerie known as fly fringe. I was looking at this on a dress at the V&A museum and have discovered that they were made by people who lived and worked near the silk weavers. They often worked together to provide matching trimmings for a customer as each length of silk was made in very small quantities. The button makers would be nearby too and I love to think of these creative and skilled communities working together, albeit probably unappreciated by the client!



  There is a pocket flap on this panel so it required a button. I made a covered bead as I often do for my stumpwork pieces and looked for some buttonhole inspiration. I settled on a couched buttonhole with metal thread set back slightly from a bound edged.
  The book I used for most of this piece was the V&A's 'Historical Fashion in Detail, the 17th and 18th Century', now in another format.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

So long at the fair


   I haven't forgotten this blog, it's just that everything is being made but nothing finished! Did I mention the wasps nest that I'm making or the tiny box of stones or the lace...…….
Well, here is a sneak peek at something much more mysterious, others will appear on the 'other' blog soon.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Tree light



 My absence form this part of my blog universe has two causes, one medical one personal. The ability to work can be thwarted by the actions of others and as the world seems to polarise between madness and sanity I have found myself caught in that breach.
 The space left by a tree is a sad space. When a tree is cut down the light that was is now no more. The light that was filtered and cast by that tree is a nuanced ever moving joy. When the tree is gone the light is flat and still. Who can live without the dappled light of trees? The cathedral sound of birds in the high trees is high art, it is transcendence. After rain on a May morning the light and sound of trees are God's eyelashes.
 My studio trees are gone and my fox came and smelt their absence.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Imperial Festival



 As you may know I am one of the artists in residence with Imperial College London working mainly with the vascular surgery unit. On the weekend of the 28th April I will be taking part in their annual festival where the public are allowed in to see what happens in the college.

                                         http://www.imperial.ac.uk/festival/

  The work that I have done called 'The Textile Body' will be there on show to discuss and explore with the public.
  I also talk about this piece and my experience as an embroiderer working with surgeons on this blog,

                                         http://threadmanagement.blogspot.co.uk/

and I assure you it is suitable for the squeamish !!!! and it is the fact that it is not squirmy that we will be demonstrating  in the Queens Tower rooms at the South Kensington campus near the Victoria and Albert museum.

Please come and say hello!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Shiny and New



  Yes, all shiny and new, that is to say that my website has got lots of new images on!  All of the stumpwork leaves and Gleipnir and Sheela-na -Gig and Goblin Market and some things for sale too!
  Where work is for sale it is clearly priced and you can simply contact me through the website for that (see the 'about ' button at the bottom).

Fleur Oakes.com

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Silk henge


  My last piece in this series, the silk henge charm. A little while ago there were some remarkable images in National Geographic of this odd little structure found in the Amazon jungle.Soon it was found that it was in fact an undiscovered spider's web. If you are not troubled by spiders here is the film of what they saw .
  As natural structures are a favourite with me I could not resist recreating this web as a protective  charm. The centre is the creche so to speak of this little critter and how she has managed to evade the gaze of mankind for so long I do not know but good for her.
 And so this is the series complete, click on 'charms' in the labels menu to the right to see them all.


Tuesday, 6 March 2018

A witch's ladder


 These mysterious objects are usually made with any yarn or string with chicken feathers threaded through the fibres along its length. The idea is that each feather is put in with 'intention' and that is activated when the feather is removed.
 My ladder is for escaping your troubles, my string was made on a lucet with fine embroidery thread and my feathers are from owls and pheasants (donated not stolen!).
  This is the fourth from my series of charms.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Vein charm


  The third in my series of modern charms, the vein charm. I have copied a bifurcated vascular stent in silk organza and thread with enamelled wire and gold plated beads. These are in fact made by hand for surgeons in Mexico by workrooms of women stitching by hand using gortex and suturing thread:the gold is so that it can be clearly positioned under x-ray.
  I began reading the Kalevala a few years ago and was struck by how many charms were used during the saga.These are generally poems or songs requesting help from the natural world and one was particularly fascinating; the hero's mother has to reassemble her son(!) and sings him back together, at one point singing a vein charm.Remarkable in itself but more so the level of anatomical knowledge in the song !
 Mine was not easy, a case of wrong tools and wrong materials but nevertheless I produced this little number (3x8cm).

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