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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 7

braid

Break... where not pause?

When Viviane La Dame du Lac’s dress was embroidered, I felt the need to take a break or rather take a step back.
Some moments during creation require:
  • to take another point of view
  • to let the work be done in the background of his brain
  • to digest what has just happened while considering the future.
I thought at that time that I could do without embroidering the stripe of the belt and the sickle and reserve all this for the last part of the book. Certainly we should put something other than crosses.
I must say that I was caught off guard because I had imagined that finishing the dress would take me another two and a half days. Not two and a half to embroider non-stop, no, but it was Friday 11 am and I imagined that for Sunday 6 pm it would be in the pocket.
I like to embroider on weekends and especially on Sundays.
Nothing disturbs or almost disturbs my concentration.
I need to be able to project myself into a space-time where I know that no one will come to disturb me.
Because nothing can get me out of this complete availability to inspiration.

On Sundays, nothing disturbs or almost disturbs my concentration.

Creating embroidery is not a technical matter. It is a matter of emotion.
Cross stitch is in itself really very simple. It takes a few minutes to learn, and then we count and make crosses that are all determined by a framework that forbids us almost any freedom.
A cross is inscribed in a square, dot to the line.
You don’t have to be the best technician or embroiderer in the world to create embroidery.
You need to connect with something that is beyond and that is called imagination and inspiration.
For this you have to make room in your life and in your head. You have to make yourself available. Engage, immerse yourself.
Do not think that doing this job is embroidery every day. Quite the contrary. I have often noticed that some of my clients have more time than I do for this. I estimate that I can devote 1/6th of my time to embroidery. Everything else is anything to do with embroidery.
But back to that famous Friday.
The bells have just rang in the village. It’s 7 p.m.: I’ve just finished.
I do not understand what is happening. Sometimes time plays tricks on me. It seems to contract or stretch.
Still, my weekend is going to be very different from what I had planned.
I say to myself: what a pity not to have projected myself further on the next step!
Here is a beautiful weekend of silence that will be lost.
On Saturdays I wander around the house.
Sunday points the tip of his nose and as every day I enter my office and pass in front of my embroidery of Viviane waiting. I glance at him for nothing. I am evaluating what has been done. I am critical.
I wonder what will inspire me for the future. At this moment nothing comes to me.
Two hours later I am installed at my desk, my work in my hands.

Certainly we should put something other than crosses.

I don’t even remember how I got there. I can only say that it was stronger than me. I am embroidering the stripe of the belt.
Really I hadn’t planned to embroider. Even less to tackle this area because as I said above I reserved it for the end.
I let myself be carried away.
The white dress blending into the fabric with very similar hues, this element of color, the belt, was well come for the evolution of the subject. I will even make an important choice: the stripe will be embroidered in a thread.
I test.
Logically this stripe should be thicker than the dress since it is placed on top in reality. It is therefore a counter-sense to embroider it in a thread since it puts the stripe back from the dress because less thick.
We agree that cross stitch is a kind of “pixelation”. It is as if, in an image, we choose from thousands of points, a point, which we magnify with a magnifying glass.
The pattern of the stripe is an interlacing,in other words curves. Cross stitch does not like curves. Cross stitch is square. Everything has to fit into squares. How then to represent curves?
I don’t see how to represent these interlacings elegantly with crosses. This is likely to be really very rude and to serve the subject.

Cross stitch does not like curves. Cross stitch is square.

I remembered a topic I had created a few years ago from an illuminated drop cap by Rachel Arbuckel: Libra (which means Libra in French) sign of the zodiac. In this subject I had experienced this problem of interlacing. So I was inspired by what I had created at the time.
I embroider in a thread the bottom of the stripe. Then I place some 1/2 points on top. Then with a bundle of a few threads together I slide in a determined order in these 1/2 points to form my snake of interlacing. There you go!
It’s working!
Tracery
I am satisfied. I will stop there. I am not finishing. This part is fragile. In the manipulation of the embroidery until its end I would hang the risk of hanging the interlacing and creating ugly tensions.
My goal was to find out if what I had imagined was right. That is the case.
I will finish this part at the very end of the book.
This step was important for several reasons:
  • Validate an idea: represent interlacing
  • Define colors that give body to the dress: obtain contrasts
  • Give the stripe its rightful place vis-à-vis the global subject, neither too forward nor too far back
In the illustration the stripe is quite “rustic” which differs from other more sophisticated materials. We can imagine that the dress is made of wild silk given the shape of the folds that can be seen and the mohair mesh cape with its somewhat blurred edges.
If I had embroidered the stripe in 2 threads this is what I would have obtained, something rustic given the brown and yellow colors. But I didn’t want to. By lowering the intensity of the colors with only 1 thread I refine the embroidery but also the subject itself: it was my choice of interpreter.
This is what we do when we create an embroidery from an image. Our choices of interpreter make our style, our particular paw.

See you for the rest: Viviane Episode 8…

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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

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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