Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Found a UFO of St. John

I was hunting for a photo of Grandma who made my quilt and never did find it, but I did find a nearly finished UFO (unfinished object) of St. John the Evangelist.
This drawing is a copy of one by the great renaissance artist Albrecht Durer.  Most people only know of his famous 'praying hands' drawing but he did many etchings and woodcuts, most with biblical themes.  He's one of my very favorite artists.
This piece was started 20 some years ago but the grandiose project, which was for the church I attended, never progressed due to events outside of my control and this eventually got put aside.   St. John is done in needle-painting as taught to me by a lady who attended the Royal School of Needlework in London, England.  I did a one day practice project then dived into this one.  

The fabric is linen and the threads are DMC cotton.  You'll see a bit of sparkle in the red mantle which is from metallic threads I added.
Needle-painting is really fairly easy if you have a decent eye for shading.  The stitch is just a split stitch in varying lengths working in the direction and curve of the thing you are portraying.  You use at least 3 shades of your color and normally start with the darkest shades working up to the lightest.  Start with a split stitch outline where you want a hard edge, then cover over it with your needle-painting.  Glossy silk thread is beautiful for this but I was going for something that would last for generations and stay in my meager budget.  Silk disintegrates over time so easily especially if exposed to light but cotton and linen will hold up very well.
St. John was meant to be appliqued onto a large background with other figures (Christ, apostles and 4 arch angels) so I'm not sure how I will finish him off as far as background.

I'm thinking maybe I need to add this to my list for the year.  Quilt to be finished by the end of March, St Nicholas cross stitch and then St John.


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