So after distressing the front, I decided that I had lost a lot of the relief that the mosaic quilting stitching had produced……so I lightly brushed over a dull antique gold textile paint.
Then to give more of the narrative of ‘Women’s Work ‘ I added houses and home and children along with words alluding to the work of women in history.
The Flip Side
A contrast to the front this is light and bejeweled to depict the Empress and her attendants and show their privileged lives….being the recipients of the clothing sewn for them by the women on the other side of the piece ……..
I added gold/bronze/copper foils overall to give it some sense of richness. And hand stitching to the figures.
So I promised to share the process once I started on the front of my “Women’s Work” piece.
This was a start with white textile paint rolled over the mosaic quilted pattern.
I sat with it for a whole day, in a quandary about it.
Then I decided it was not what I wanted.
It looked too clean and new.
I wanted it aged and worn looking,
So yesterday after doing some trials on my practice piece I aged and distressed it.
I am much happier with this and now I want to add text to tell the narrative……
Well here is my Artists Statement for the exhibition “Women’s Work”
Which will be in September.
I was honoured and enchanted to be asked to participate in this exhibition, by invitation from the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver.
I was, and still am, delighted to have been given the image of Empress Theodora. I visited Istanbul in 2013 and became acquainted with Theodora and learned many intriguing details about womenʼs lives in the Byzantine era.
As a result of this personal experience and connection, I felt implored to translate the image of Empress Theodora almost verbatim; elaborating on the mosaic tiles depicting Theodora and her attendants.
In addition to a translation of the mosaic, I chose to embellish Theodora as a moderately inconspicuous illustration of the female figure; an all-inclusive representation of women and our contributions to society.
As I was stitching the recurring tile pattern and the female forms, I realized that my piece could be fully reversible, and by extension, represent more than just one “side” of the story. I wanted to illustrate the range of expression and adaptability of women, in both ancient and modern times.
My process involved an initial design draft on watercolour paper, whereby I was able to iterate further and get a feel for the mosaic interpretation, and the “quilt- like” background you see in my finished artwork. I was determined to make marks that represented tools that women of the Byzantine era included in their works, such as spindle whorls, looms, needles and sewing tools.
So I have had much fun over the past week, painting into the textured surface of the back of the quilt . A blank canvas to create something completely opposite to the other side.
I have used Dynaflow dyes and textile paint, printing inks and shiva sticks. Now to add stitch to the female figures and buttons and beads to the overall surface.
Will post the reverse side once I start on it later today.
As you will soon see one side represents the rich lifestyle of Empress Theodora and the other side will depict the more mundane life of the average woman then and now.
The image I have been given for my inspiration is of Empress Theodora who ruled with Emporer Justinian in 500 BC during the Byzantine era. This is the only image of her and it is a mosaic situated in Ravenna.
I have been working my design first with pastels on watercolour paper.
…and then loosely weaving strips of torn fabrics together and quilting this background to give me a mosaic efffect .
I have then been painting back into my design with textile paints/shiva sticks/oil pastels to give my piece an antiqued look. Below is the sample piece I created to audition the paint techniques …………………
Gosh……….so many choices for colour and texture……..which one do I choose?
And the back is a blank canvas to do another colour scheme altogether.
Will post more images once I make some decisions about the front and back!………..