Breath of Fresh Air

Last week I took myself out for a much needed day on the town. I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I stumbled upon what is probably the smallest exhibit there, Gems of European Lace. It took me about 5 minutes of trying to locate room 599 before asking a guard where the room was. When I finally found the room, I was quite pleased to be alone in it.

OMG. Usually when I go to a museum or gallery, it is my hope that something will affect me deeply. I hope to be able to have a physical response to what I see. I shed some tears, I was so deeply affected. 

One of the pieces on display was presumably used and worn by Marie Antoinette. I took photographs of every single piece. I tried to imagine who might have made the lace, man or woman. This needle lace piece? Those hexagonal supportive stitches that hold the piece together? 7 stitches per bar. Um. Wow. 

Ever since I was a child, I have held textiles, lace, embroidery, crochet, cloth, the items that are considered ‘feminine and female’ in the art world, in high reguard. I mean, just look at the story told in the lace above. Angels, a fountain, birds, flowers, tassels, bugs. All the good things, represented as a story and wearable too.

Experiencing a hand made item like this, one that is as old as it is, makes me want to be a better artist. It gives me something to  strive for. It might also suggest that I need to employ an army to get all the things I want to, done!

I am dyeing threads and trying to work all of the kinks out. See the threads in the box? The manner that I dye threads creates these white undyed spots (that show up as lightly colored flecks), which occurs every 6 inches or so. This week I am working on eliminating that undyed spot. It takes alot of time, because I am dyeing thread in groups of 48 colors. I think I figured it out, but, I need to wait for this last batch to soak and dry before I can confirm this.

And because I need something to embroider, now having gads of colors and thread options available to me, I started making what I am calling Breastplates. The rabbit from earlier this week is part of the Breastplate at lower right. I will stitch, sew and print these plates for some time to come.

The party begins.

3 thoughts on “Breath of Fresh Air

  1. Do you remember when tabards were in fashion with quilters? I think Virginia Avery or Jean Ray Laury started it in their books on quilted clothing. A tabard would fit in with the breast plate theme. Here is a link for some beautiful Medievil tabards:'s%20Wear/Medieval%20Tabards/slides/09023352%20Tabard%20Women's,%20black%20and%20gold%20brocade,%20cream%20silk%20dickey,%20B38%20W30.html
    The lace, oh my goodness! That is gorgeous. That is one of those pieces that you can stare at for hours on end. I have met some women who make lace and I am entranced. Plus, they have these beautiful bobbins for the thread to be wound onto. I love old lace. Heck, I love most old things. 😉
    Your breastplates look like loads of fun. A blank canvas to be adorned and then worn.
    I was frustrated with the white spots on floss. No matter how loosely I wound the thread, I would get them. I went back to wrapping the floss around a short Olfa ruler and then tying it in 4-6 places with a polyester thread (so I could find it after dyeing). I still will end up with rat nests, but they are easily shaken out. If I want to dye complimentary colors on the same floss, I use a longer ruler and more ties, lay it out on Press and Seal Saran. After squirting on the dye, I seal up the Saran and leave it on an old lunchroom tray. Dye will leak out, but heck, what’s a little mess. LOL! Hope your day is sunny!


  2. Hi Melanie,
    Found your blog from the Create mixed media newsletter lead-ins. Read all posts back through Oct.15, 2012. Love looking at your work and reading your posts. All of your endeavors really interest me, so I subscribed to your FB page and am following you on Pinterest. Hope you don’t mind, since you don’t know me. I’m barely interate on computer, but am learning. I’ll return when I have more time.


  3. I’m behind in my reading! Love the breastplates. You will look gorgeous in them. I really like your metal thread turner. I love little gadgets like that!


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