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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.

Viviane, The Lady of the Lake: episode 5

annaick-nimue

At full speed...

This time I enter a space where I can breathe.
The following part, that is, the right of Viviane’s skirt is and will be the only part where I will be able to release the pressure.
Now the colors are validated. So are their inter-actions. I’m unwinding.
You can’t imagine how good it is to passs like these where I don’t have to think about every cross.
You yourself, when you get there, you will also relax because you will now have all these colors in hand.
This is not to say that it is simple but that on a relatively large surface there will be very few colors, i.e. a mastery of the symbols and therefore an acceleration of the gesture.
This is the moment when I find the original pleasure of embroidery. The crosses follow one another. I’m making rapid progress. And I forget everything.

You can't imagine how good it is to passs like these where I don't have to think about every cross.

This is possible with big subjects like this but not at all for smaller subjects like Les Crêpes or Challigraphe (although the cat’s body was ultimately also very relaxing to do).
In a small subject, that is, perhaps 5000 points, the tension is permanent. End to end we’re under stress.
Every point, absolutely every point is weighed, under-weighted, evaluated, validated. There is no room for approximation. At least if we do fine things. It all depends on your own requirement and how you do it.
This permanent tension took me out at a time of simple pleasure of embroidery. The embroidery had become synonymous with knotted muscles, tension in the shoulders. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy creating anymore but I dreaded this plunge into stress. I had to slow down and figure out how to ease my schedule.
I sought help:
  • I tried, for simpler subjects, to create the grids and give them to embroider. It relieved me for a while but I had little satisfaction and the result was much less qualitative. I was measuring how essential it was to achieve an optimum result to see the grid evolve point after point in my hands.
  • I also entrusted images to seasoned embroiderers who wanted to create. But none managed to tame these images to make a grid.
Zero result. Back to stresssssssss…..
I do not hide from you that my method of creation is by far the least profitable. It takes weeks or even months to create a subject while others spend only a few hours there. However, I do not think one method is better than another. Each artist adopts a way of his own and one that allows him to express his talent as best as possible. There is no value order.
Unable to delegate I wondered how to find this wonderful original pleasure of embroiderer that strings the dots smoothly without bludgeoning the neurons. I also wanted to reconnect with this feeling of excitement when the colors spread out on the canvas and reveal themselves.
I remembered what made me happy when I discovered the cross stitch: the great portraits.
From reproductions of William Morris to beautiful ladies of designers such as Lavender and Lace , Mirabilia, that’s what had me entangled. As for the themes and well there also back to the source: the Arthurian Legend. You know the rest: Guinevere then Arthur and now Viviane.

This is the moment when I find the original pleasure of embroidery. The crosses follow one another. I'm making rapid progress. And I forget everything.

Legend equals literature. These are two words that intertwine and have been at the heart of my life for several decades. NIMUE is Viviane who is the Lady of the Lake. These are three names for the same character each with some variants. This is how the Arthurian Legend was built over the centuries. Some characters have been given different names but with the same functions within the story. All these writings constitute a literary corpus in which legend is forged.
Embroidering large dresses, drapes, allows this free immersion in embroidery that gives so much satisfaction. To you who are as passionate as I am, you understand what I’m talking about.
I created a lot of costumes in my previous life, that is, when I was director of the Château de Comper-en-Brocéliande. It was absolutely not in my duties but my creative nature and my taste for textile arts, and ultimately the necessity, made me fully immersed in their manufacture. We had few resources and all the talents were welcome. The whole team and the volunteers were working with a dashing enthusiasm and nothing seemed to stop us. Unfortunately we didn’t have a smartphone to take photographs and fix it all for eternity so I don’t have much to show from that time. I would have to go back to the bottoms of my drawers so that naughty, poorly framed and poorly exposed photos could be scanned.
All these great dresses created in different fabrics, velvet, silks, wool, cottons, have left me the experience of the effects of materials to particular falls. That’s why I feel so comfortable when I have to embroider these clothes of king or queen, fairy ladies, and even the little people because I feel in my hands what these fabrics are and how they “live”.
For Guinevere, I saw a rather fine and supple silk velvet. For Arthur, a thick cotton velvet. For Viviane, a kind of wild silk, fallen a little brittle with a wool cape with loose stitches.
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Great show at the Château de Comper (56): I play Viviane who brings the magic sheath of the Sword Excalibur to Arthur who has just fought the dragon. In what year? 1998. Silk stuffed dress. The photo must be of Hervé Glot one of the founders of the Arthurian Centre.
An embroidery is always a mixture between what we know and see about what we represent, knowledge,and what we perceive, the essence of the subject. It’s about knowing as much as feeling. The more we know, the finer the work. The better one discerns the essence of the subject, the more moving and sensitive the work is. The two must combine lovingly to achieve what will be called Grace.
It does not work every time, for reasons inherent in the subject or context, at a time, an external cause, which disrupts immersion in creation.
What I have observed however is that when a creation literally emerges from my hands, I could almost say “spring” is that I am in the real and that something Wonderful is emerging.

See you for the sequel: Viviane Episode 6…

Don’t forget to sign up in the right insert to follow all the episodes

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

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

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