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.

Viviane La Dame du Lac : episode 8

Resume embroidery after a long stop

The heartbreak
For more than 15 years I participated in fairs, many in France but also a lot abroad. It’s fun, rewarding, exciting and creatively boosting.
It is also a social place where we connect with our own (our peers), to the âutres (the visitors). A living room is a kind of hive, it buzzes, and for us embroiderers it’s like honey, it flows deliciously in our fibers. Our antennas are on the lookout, we smell the sweet scent of sharing and affinities. At this place we have an 80% chance in addition to meeting humans who look like us. It’s strong anyway!
This great mass dedicated to our passions is a wonderful exercise in life, providing energy.
But it’s also a break.
  • A break with his daily life
  • A jump in the crowd.
  • Information that arrives from all sides and heckles us.
  • A hubbub.
  • A world where you have to take your place.
Personally I like all that. Connection as well as struggle.
I call it: Being in the World or Confronting the World.

For us embroiderers it's like honey, it flows deliciously in our fibers

The life of a creator is for many a monastic life and some are body and soul. It is concentration that dominates.
Participating in a fair can be a pain both morally and physically.
Knowing that each human works differently I can only testify to what drives me during these trips.
During these years I enjoyed this outdoor exercise because I like movement and encounters.
Even today if I am called from the other side of the planet for an Art of the thread event: I go for it.
I’m already on the plane before I hang up my phone.
But when you move you no longer have time to create.
At least I don’t have time to create anymore.
The ones that get there fascinate me.
It has always been complicated for me to keep creation in the middle of all that there is to do to live from it.
I will spare you the list of caps to wear. Just imagine a big company and all its services….
OK, do you have it in mind? And being independent means that we execute every day all the positions in all the departments.
Difficult to find time to isolate oneself in a bubble and create.
But I did. For a long time. Then I hung up my boots from seven places. I stopped running the planet. I curled up in Paimpont in my hermitage.
Arrives the living room of Oléron… last June, while I am fully on my embroidery of Viviane (and you with me). Patatra!
It’s heartbreaking. My creativity is cut off in full swing…
  • I have to stop everything to prepare my living room.
  • Prepare stock.
  • Then comes the living room itself.
  • A few more days on the island to enjoy being outside again after the lockdowns.
  • Then the return, the storage, etc …
a month has just passed like a rocket.

To create it takes time in front of you, quality time

Other administrative obligations related to the beginning of each month arrive. Fifteen more days pass.
It’s mid-July and it’s the holidays for many. Friends arrive… birthdays.
The need to recharge your batteries in the sun and take a little light like everyone else.
Summer passes like a rocket…
To create it takes time in front of you, quality time, so as not to spoil what has already been done. You can’t go superficial and let arbitrariness take its place.
That’s the perfectionist side that speaks.
To summarize: nothing distracts me from my task and deconcentrates me. Time flies through my fingers and October is coming. So I ask you: what does Time do? where is it hiding? why does he swallow days, months and years?
Let’s leave the jeremiads and move on to embroidery…
We had stopped at the stripe and its interlacing. It had allowed me to move forward. By introducing colors that form a contrast, the subject takes shape as well as its borders. Until now in this part of the right the dress merged with the canvas in a tone-on-tone. It’s not easy to know where you’re going.
Thanks to the stripe the dress is a little better.
This is the time to embroider the hair starting from the bottom which will completely delimit the dress and therefore the character.
Before embarking on this book, I had modified the image itself because the document I had was of very poor quality. So I changed tones, intensities, brightness, before I could say: this subject can be embroidered! But of course the quality of Zéphir d’Elph’s drawing was already there.
Once satisfied with the changes on the color saturations I embarked on the creation.
When I look at the picture and especially the hair I KNOW that it is black. But if I look closely I SEE that they are blue. A very dark blue, but blue.
I choose my blues.
Everything seems to be going well until I get above the forearm. It gets complicated. The blues become much too blue!
To counterbalance the blues I will have to introduce black?
What blacks are available at DMC?
Oh! a black one. A single black in all and for all… a misery.
How to create effects and shade if you only have one black available? That’s crazy!
DMC if you hear me creates blacks: black/brown, black/blue, black/red, etc.
What to do?
Finally I introduce grays / blue which in contact with blues will become gray / stone. It’s up to me to balance the amounts of points so that it remains pretty.
We are in the middle of a trompe-l’oeil.
With a little hindsight I tell myself that the recovery will not have been too complicated even after three months of stoppage.
I give you some tips on the resumption of work:
When you stop an embroidery for x reason and after a long time you have to dive back into it, here’s what you can do:
  • Decide before you stop that it will be your next step in a precise way. For example: the next color you will embroider when you resume your work. So no procrastination: we go for it.
  • Try to keep in mind the references of 3-4 colors of where you are.
  • When you pick up your book, write down on a piece of paper the color references you had previously used to visualize and re-impregnate.

By using these 3 small principles you will save a lot of time.

Now the hair is embroidered and I am satisfied with the result, even if it will be necessary to make the contours, the curves of the hair are not friends with the cross stitch because the cross stitch is … square. But you already know that…

See you for the rest: Viviane Episode 9…

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Viviane, The Lady of the Lake, by Nimuo after an illustration by Elph’s Zephir.

Don’t hesitate to leave your comments below!

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

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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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