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Nimue Creation Step by Step

A few months ago I wanted to write about the creative process either in general or the particularities related to a specific topic in progress. And as these articles are acclaimed by many of you, I continue…

In this part of the site you will therefore find articles that tell how a creation is developed step by step, mixing technical, economic and poetic questions.
And above all, do not hesitate to leave your comments at the end of the article. Good reading !

Viviane la Dame du Lac : Episode 9

Decoration... Lake Viviane

You asked me to do the set for Viviane? Let’s look at that.
After the hair, head to the Lake!
Viviane is known as the Godmother of Lancelot and the Jailer of Merlin, she is a Lady of the Waters, a Fairy.
How was a fairy described in the Middle Ages (Lancelot in prose):
“(The Fairies) know the power of words, stones and herbs, thanks to which they maintain themselves in youth, beauty and wealth, as much as they desire.”
In the Middle Ages, around 1100, there was no literature to speak of. Literature was born when writers responded to the request of nobles to introduce courtesy into epic narratives. It is in particular to Marie of France, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine,that we owe the wonderful texts of Chrétien de Troyes starting with Le Contedu Graal

with Perceval as well as Le Chevalier de la Charrette

which introduces the character of Lancelot du Lac. Still a baby he is adopted (or rather kidnapped!) and raised by Viviane in her crystal palace hidden by the Waters of a Lake.

While she is very young, Viviane appears in the eyes of Merlin in her innocent beauty near the Fountain of Barenton in the Forest of Brocéliande
(The Enchanter,
Barjavel). He falls madly in love. But the beautiful is less innocent than she looks. She asks him again and again for proof of his inclination and he finally agrees to take her as a student. Soon again, to prove his love, he offers her a crystal palace hidden from the eyes of men by the waters of a lake.
Thus our Viviane becomes a scholar in the forest of Brocéliande, loved by the most powerful of the Enchanters.
That is why in our embroidered subject there is a lake and gushing water, as well as outcropping rocks and trees. Such is the landscape of Brocéliande, a mixture of peaceful lakes with multiple sources, surrounded by moors with protruding rocks opening onto perspectives, these spaces being lined with deciduous and pine trees.

Let me share with you this literature that I love. "As an Amazon Partner, I make a profit on eligible purchases."

I own these books myself.
I have read them. If reading is also a passion for you I absolutely recommend them.

The Enchanter of Barjavel can be a good introduction and will suit everyone.
But it is Chrétien de Troyes who remains in my eyes the most extraordinary of all the authors.

A small part of my Arthurian library
The easiest way to start is to embroider the lake.
However, it is impossible to embroider this decoration like the character. This must remain in retreat as an evocation. Quite quickly I decided to embroider only with a thread.

Let intuition do it. Let the imagination run wild.

At that time I do not yet know how I will apprehend the rest of the decor. But I know that ideas come by doing.
You can’t know everything before you start. What is interesting precisely in the creation is to set some milestones and then let it happen.
Let intuition do it. Let the imagination run wild.
To realize the lake, I am not lost. I look at the picture, the lake. I know these colors. Years of practice of the DMC range mean that immediately the available colors come into my head. Should I be able to get away with five colors?
I call it blue/grey/green. In Breton we say “glaz”. There is only one word and it is simpler.
I always choose a master color, the one that seems the most obvious to me and then I surround it with those who will come to support it.
However, since I only embroider in one thread, the colors are less intense and therefore do not really react in the usual way. This is why it may be necessary to choose more contrasting colors theoretically, because the effect will be attenuated.
Once the lake is embroidered I realize that it will take rocks to identify all this.
When I started this subject I did not think to embroider all the decor but only a few parts. Maybe embroidering the rocks will change my mind. Who knows?
When embroidered with two threads you can make material effects by mixing the colors in the same switch. With a thread everything is said. There is no second “kiss cool” effect. I have to embroider rocks with mottling. That’s not what I prefer.
To complicate things I don’t want to add threads to my palette. I have to make do with what I already have.
This will count when you embroider it (or not) and you will only need 60 colors and not 80! It will be better for the wallet. It’s my job to limit the cost for embroiderers. If I embroidered only for myself I would not limit myself.
However, the more we expand the subject as here by embroidering the decor, the more the range of colors will expand, sometimes for small insignificant details it will still be necessary to add 2 or 3 colors because unless we will not be satisfied.

Here are my choices:

  • I continue in 1 thread
  • Except for the ridges of the rocks which will be in 2 threads so that it does not merge too much with the canvas.
  • As far as possible I do with the colors already in the palette.
As I said above, I did not want to embroider the set but only to evoke it because I wanted to focus on the character. As an embroiderer this is what I like the most and you will not mind me, I hope, to respond to my pleasure. Where we feel the most joy is often there we succeed the best and I succeed better (I believe) the characters than the rest.
We know that Viviane is very linked to the Water and Forest elements. This tells us about her function as Lady/Fairy and Lady of the Lake, as the thrones of Guinevere and Arthur informed us about their royal function.
On the other hand, the youthful aspect of Viviane calls for a certain lightness hence my hesitation to embroider the decoration that will inevitably weigh down the whole. Let’s see how to play with that. Let’s see if embroidering in a thread brings this lightness.
I’m getting started. We’ll see in a few hours or a few days if I continue or if I erase everything…

See you for the rest: Viviane Episode 10…

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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

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