Saturday, 3 September 2011

Klimt inspired embroidery: stitching up 'The Bride'?

While I am working on some post about recent things, thought it would be nice to show and share some mixed media/ hand-embroidery work that I did some time ago and for which I was visually inspired by Gustav Klimt's unfinished picture 'The Bride'.

Watercolour pencils on wc paper, gold leaf, acrylic wax, markal oil stick, applied sequins, lace, mesh, reclaimed sari thread, sari scrap fabric, fibres, couched gimp, rayon and silk thread, tyvek painted and ironed on rubber stamp, puff paint, stitch (french knot, couching, running, chain, long) mounted on a green hand-made paper background

The process that I followed is pretty simple and more 'design' based than my work usually is.
Gustav Klimt is one of my favourite painters, so it was almost a natural choice while I was looking for something that I could reproduce on paper, mixed media and stitch.

Gustav Klimt The Bride
I went through some of Klimt's paintings and was particularly attracted by the Bride.
There were some other floral patterns that I was considering from another painting, which funnily enough belongs to the same period: The Virgin.

Auditioning imagery and details on brown paper

But in the end The Bride won.

I suppose that what drew me to it was the pattern, besides its 'unfinished' status, which lent it an air of mystery and seemed to leave a little unexplored corner for somebody to go in and partake of it.
So I started by isolating the design elements that struck me most and that could be better reproduced according to my media of choice.
There were basically two choices: the floral pattern decorating the trousers at the bottom of the left unfinished side and the unfinished dreamy figure at the top:
I considered both:

In the end I went for the dreamy figure part, which would still feature some flowery patterns

I made a sketch with a simplified design and highlighted the details that could be rendered in my chosen media. I then went back to my experiments with the materials, which eventually I recorded in one of my sketchbooks.
Pages of sketchbook showing a scan of the finished embroidery and opposite some tyvek experiment: painted with Dye n'flow on both sides (Green Yellow and Purple) + ironed onto a rubber stamp mat.  Stuck with Copydex glue

Experiments for rendering imaginary flowers

Another example of imaginary flower in tyvek, heated with the heat gun

Detail of an imaginary flower pattern in tyvek, painted, rubber stamped and pressed under the iron

And this is the end result in more detail:

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