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Nimue Creation Step by Step

A few months ago, more than a year ago, I realized that Nimue, although having an Arthurian name, had not yet created embroidery subjects from the Arturian Legend. What?
It seemed incredible that after more than 17 years of being called Nimue(The Lady of the Lake),nothing, no character, transmitted this culture that is the breeding ground of my inspiration.
 
An opportunity would allow me to embark on the realization of this Arthurian pantheon: an invitation to Moscow, as guest of honor of a fair art of the thread – crafts, Formula Rukodiela in February 2020.
 
The first cross-stitch subjects were Guinevere,then Arthur,the Royal Couple.
Now it is the turn of the beings of the Other World, the Enchanter and Enchantress: Merlin and Viviane.

Choose your embroidery fabric: aida or linen?

What embroidery fabric?

In the first chapter we will see why to change canvas and in the second: the choice of Aida or Linen weaving.

A- It is not uncommon for me to be asked which canvas to choose to embroider a work whether it is from Nimuë or not.
This request is addressed to me because the original canvas is not suitable.
Because :
  1. eyesight is failing and an easier one is needed
  2. the color does not please
  3. the color does not match his house
  4. the embroiderer has doubts about the relevance of the designer’s choice…
1- Most often it’s a matter of sight…
Let’s say I created a subject on a red canvas like… The Fairy Queen ! Embroidering on a red fabric is a priori not as simple as embroidering on a white or at least neutral fabric. But if the beginning seems difficult, the eye ends up getting used to it and creates its own comfort.
If you walk outside on a moonlit evening, you may have your torch on at first, but after a few minutes you can turn it off and enjoy the night’s ambiance to the fullest. Your sight will have become accustomed to the light/dark which then draws a landscape of Chinese shadows, contours and surfaces, which your eye will distinguish with less and less difficulty.
Queen of the Fairies: brick red fabric for an intense effect
2- The color does not please…
We all have color preferences. Some touch us deeply without knowing why or even where it comes from.
My heart colors are red and green, to which I can add ivory whites and caramel/mustard as enhancers for the first two. Why does red and green together give me so much joy? I do not know. What I noticed is that when I create a subject with dominant red and green, nothing resists me.
But of course, these colors are not to everyone’s taste so… Changing her canvas remains a prerogative of the embroiderer which should not be dispensed with if the original proposal is not suitable.

Choosing a white or linen-colored canvas can be interpreted as a non-choice.

3- The color does not match the house.
One could say: how to bring the subject back into the style of my interior? One of the main powers of the embroiderer is actually to change the canvas. Choosing a more neutral canvas allows you to integrate a subject that appeals despite the canvas, into your daily decor. A subject is created out of context, it is up to each person to bring it home. Most interiors today are very neutral: off-whites, taupe, light greys,… you can choose to create a very toned accent on a wall with a very colorful work or soften it with a canvas in the tones of the walls to keep “visible” only the subject itself.
4- The embroiderer has doubts about the designer’s choices…
The key word here is CHOICE. Choices have to be made. Choosing a white or linen-colored canvas can be interpreted as a non-choice. Here we are back in a theme that is dear to me: the narration . When I choose a “neutral” canvas, that is to say non-color, I orient the story towards the central point which is the subject itself.
  • I leave less room a priori for a “together”, there is only the pattern.
  • I leave less room for a strong emotion that would be given by a colored canvas.
Embroidery ride
Alice's merry-go-round: neutral canvas for a very colorful subject
B- But from my point of view, no painting is neutral. Let’s detail this…

I invite you to get out of the usual opposition between these two canvases, Linen and Aida, by approaching the question in another way.

What a choice of canvas entails:
1- A choice of canvas determines the story you want to tell. If you choose a 5.5 stitches per cm white aida cotton canvas rather than a natural 14 thread count linen, you will not tell quite the same story. Each painting is connoted.
  • A matte white cotton canvas takes us into a raw universe, without mystery. One could say by using metaphor that it is something that is played in the indicative, that is to say in the present.
  • A natural 14-ply linen brings its texture and its warm grey/beige/heather towards something vintage. We evoke what was, it is a kind of past made up of embroidery.
The fineness of the linen serves the details, while the aida serves the synthesis. It’s different but it doesn’t conflict.
2- I continue in the grammatical metaphor :
  • with flax we tell the story by “Once upon a time” with its procession of adjectives
  • while the aida stands in the action in progress, with subject/verb/object.
It can be pictured this way:
  • 14 sons: “As my gaze jumped from cloud to cloud in the azure sky of this early spring, making me lose track of time, I realized that my steps had taken me unconsciously, in front of my house.”
  • 5.5 pts: “(My reverie brings me) I arrive in front of my house”
linen aida cheesecloth
3 types of fabric: iridescent white aïda, sand cheesecloth, brick linen
With these examples it is easy to understand that the narrative path can be direct or take myriads of subtle detours. You will not reach the same people depending on the canvas you choose. Some will be sensitive to a form of efficiency while others will need to explore and take the time. From my point of view it is a simple narrative choice.
Go further :
1-Currently, a hundred embroiderers participate in the 20th anniversary Mystery Grid . A subject that will be accessible to all at the end of the process. It is an experience that pushes the experience of detail and therefore of the adjective even further, through an assumed abuse of small 1 thread/1 thread crosses, a sort of prerogative of linen fabrics since we rely on each fiber and no longer on 2 fibres. Without this abuse of “adjectives” we would miss the subjunctive of embroidery. But to deprive a language of its subjunctive would be to suppress Proust, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde and all other authors that we adore. Do we want to delete them? NOOOOOONNNNNNNN
Using the subjunctive brings us to the second, the third, even the fourth degree. This gives depth to what we are talking about.
So I say: Long live the little crosses and Long live the subjunctive!
2- The Mic & Mac : to embroider on linen aida. Very few colors: 2 green, 2 flesh, 1 orange, 1 white. Simple and efficient. No need to do more, quite the contrary.
I say: Long live efficiency!
Mac 7: knit
Mac 8: washing line
Mic 7: Frays
To summarize :
If you like to explore and travel through time: choose linen and color.
If your mind is synthetic and your pleasure is to go to the essential: choose white, aida or linen.

See you for the rest: Choosing your canvas to embroider – part 2: Color!

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Annaïck Chauvel

Annaïck Chauvel

Welcome to the story of Nimue’s Creations. Here I share with you the How and Why of these creations.

Table of Materials

Why do I embroider?

Why do I embroider… When I embroider what matters to me is to feel emotions, to be in the gesture. One wonders how a gesture

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The beginning

The Beginning: prologue Lately I proposed a creative journey. I proposed to all through a mystery grid to accompany me in a creation. The project

Read more"
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