Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Raise the banner high

Ages and ages ago our very wonderful friend Harold Lock asked me if I'd be interested in having a look at a banner they had at their Masonic Lodge. It was the centenary of it's consecration in 1909 and they needed a new one. Did I know anyone who could do the job?
Here's a picture of it. Faded and cracked but still a fine example of the Victorian banner maker's craft.

Would I be interested in trying to replicate it?
I was.
At the time I thought it should be no problem at all.
I thought I'd embroider the gold lettering to save me having to learn how to use gold leaf on fabric ......
A million miles down the track I discovered that it was a much harder brief than I had expected.
First I had to find the material, which took forever and lead me through a range of very expensive silk manufacturers. I finally ended up finding exactly the right fabric at a sale in North Norfolk.
I had to trace the original onto transparent plastic, then trace again over that before putting it onto the fabric.
Without moving it an inch...
Next I had to find the gold embroidery thread. NO GO. Embroidery threads come in yellow or beige or taupe. Nothing like the gold I needed. I decided I would try to find some gold paint instead. I had success here again in Norfolk at the Norwich Art supplies shop where I found the perfect gold powder that became a fabric paint when you mixed it with a particular medium. So far so good.....
Every morning I'd wake up thrilled to be working on such an auspicious piece. I honestly loved every minute working on it.
Such great symbolism, with the all seeing eye, the sun and the moon, the Mason's square and compass.
So after much joy & a small amount of anxiety I finally finished it. Here is Ricardo the Magnificent holding it up for your perusal.
It was great to see something so old and faded come back to life again .


Anonymous said...

Hi All
Looks fabulous. I bet harold is delighted.

JoeyJoJo said...

Harold is delighted and Richard's looking not nearly so faded and old.

kelly said...

Wow! That is so incredibly gorgeous ... and so much WORK.

You, my dear, are a goddess.

So, something that has always escaped me as I try to teach myself new and interesting things, is the transfer part. I get putting a bit of tracing paper or something on top of the original to trace the original design. But then how does the tracing you've done get transfered onto the new fabric? I think it has something to do with your closeup of the sun, but I can't connect the dots. Help!

JoeyJoJo said...

Ahhhh. A fellow artist in distress.
Kellski, you trace the design onto the tracing paper, then you turn it over and rub over it with pencil or the end of a blunt object so the pencil marks come off on the paper or fabric. It's a bit tricky if the thing you're transferring onto is a dark colour though as the pencil doesn't show up. Another pitfall is that it all ends up being back to front. Sometimes as in the sun it doesn't matter but with all the writing on this banner, I had to trace over my tracing and THEN do the rubbing thing. I hope this makes sense. Have a play round with it & it will become clear. xxxxxxxxxxxx