The Tail of the Whale that Bit You

Image of the embroidery

This piece began life as a design exercise, using a motif derived from a Warners' textile (Panama, dating from the 1940s) and tweaking it in various ways.

sketch of the source fabric

First a simplified motion of the leaf motif was placed against a background of a simple shape - either contained within it or overlapping.

pencil sketch of the leaf within rectangle pencil sketch of the leaf beyond rectangle

Then the outlines of the leaf were extended to make new patterns, and the whole was made into mirror images in four directions.

sketch for tracing

Removal of the surplus lines left a shape recognisable as that of the whale's tail with its reflection, and a surround of phosphorescence where it enters the water.

final design sketch

The whale's tail is cut from painted pelmet vilene, and the edges of the part above the water are stitched. The water is a piece of organza. The reflection of the tail is stitched to a piece of pelmet vilene, and the organza is laced over this, with some lines of stitching in silver to represent waves. the base of the tail is inserted though a slit in the organza and secured with buttonhole stitch in fluorescent thread, which also serves to neaten the edges of the slit. Apart from this attachment, the tail is free-standing against the background.

The piece is mounted on suitably coloured card, and set in a frame - a rather battered charity shop find, which I sanded down and "coloured" with Treasure Gold.

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