This section of my project is about preparing samples for the two supporting panels that sweep up behind the neck and hold the wings. Here is a reminder of my mock-up:
Firstly I took the brightly coloured wing and tried this against various colours as shown below. The colours are all those found in the Ancient Egyptian Jewellery:
The blue wing was harder to match and only looked good against the turquoise background but I felt the background was too plain.
I decided to use the lino I had already made in a lotus flower pattern and printed this onto the silk turquoise using gold paint.
The result was quite good but needed to be more 3 dimensional to match the curved and raised forms of the old jewellery.
I stitched around the edges of some of the lotus flowers using one layer of wadding under one end and two layers of wadding at the other end.
This gave the raised effect I wanted but when I auditioned the wing against the background I felt it was overwhelmed by the print. So my next experiment was to just stitch the outline of the lotus flower without doing the print and I sampled this on one of the pieces of silk I had dyed.
This was getting close to what I wanted but the background of the silk did not have enough turquoise in it and the purchased silk dupion was too bright.
I tried machine stitching in gold threads on the silk dupion to see if I could break up the expanse of colour. This actually worked well for both colour wings.
Now I had 5 backgrounds and 2 wings all with variations of dyeing, painting, screen printing, lino block printing, padding, Wireform and stitching.
Still not sure which options to go with, I decided to try to produce another dyed sample that might work as the background for the blue wing. So I dyed some more silk, this time with a greater splash of turquoise mingling with a darker blue, picking up on the heavy Egyptian use of turquoise in faience beads.
This piece of fabric has come out really well, it has great splashes of turquoise but enough variation of colour to stop it from being bland.
My two favorites now are the bright wing on the bright background or the blue wing on the newly dyed fabric background.
Bright wing/bright background:
Pros – bold; colourful; statement piece.
Cons – not much turquoise or gold colouring; 3 dimensional padding may get lost in the colour; layering like on like loses definition of the wings.
Blue wing/turquoise dyed background:
Pros – good use of turquoise colour which was common; definition of wings maintained; gold stitching on dyed background will enable 3 dimensional padding to be added and adds extra design element of lotus flower.
Cons – the safe option?
When I first produced the wings the brightly coloured one was my favourite due to it’s boldness and impact. On reflection though I do not think it matches the Ancient Egyptian Jewellery theme as well as the blue wing does so I have decided to pursue the blue option. I think the handpainted background on the bright wing will be fabulous for another project, it would stand in it’s own right as a fabric for a waistcoat or handbag or an amazing scarf.