The banner is painted in purples. The lettering is surprisingly quite legible. As usual several ideas arise from the implementation of the design. One would be to leave the edge of the pattern white as the border in the same style as Knox's designs which have the outline of the knots giving the overall shape to the design.
The colour was a mix of violet and black but maybe it needs a pearlescent paint in there to lighten, brighten and add some shimmer to the knots.
I constantly return to the choices I make with background colour and density and wonder if it were lighter then a better contrast between fore and backgrounds would be achieved. As ever the scarf is about to change again with fixing and wax removal as this lightens the lines and to some extend all the colours too. So the finished design will be paler.
Every design is a journey of choices which are irreversible and sometimes give unexpected results.
I'm working on a new banner scarf. It's based around the name skyfensilk in knot work. I've been obsessed with the Lindisfarne Gospel carpet pages since I bought a book on it following a visit to Lindisfarne over 20years ago. I remember the monastery being red sandstone and having squat pillars some with spiral carving and being heavily restored by a conservationist who mostly seemed to have rebuilt the parts that were standing. The island was lovely on the day we visited it but I could imagine just how cold and bleak it would be in the depths of winter. The Northumberland coast is a fabulous place to walk following the wild coastline to small fishing villages and windswept castles. The other influence on this design is Archibald Knox. I bought a soft paperback book called the Deer's Cry, St Patrick's hymn and his geometric Celtic style knot work patterns in watercolours has kept me befuddled for years trying to see how he worked out his patterns. Both the Gospel and Knox's work used very strict geometric patterns that cleverly incorporated lettering. In the case of the former, they gave the outline in which the knotwork lies and for the latter the words were worked into the knots.
My design is a freehand meander of knots. I think of it as a mind map of my overthinking. And on days like today I just sit and draw and follow the lines where they go. It just gobbles up time but is so satisfying.
This is St Mary's Mill as it looks now with its crazy leaning and shortened tower. It's on the opposite bank from the path and privately owned so no one can go in it except the birds. But it's of endless fascination as it so dominates this stretch of the river. I can't easily walk past it in the dark despite there being a river between us. It's worse in the dark and fog . There must be something in there other than birds. And yet in bright sunshine it has a mellow, time worn old man of the fens feel to it. Because of the scrub of trees and ivy which surround it it also has that Sleeping Beauty or Rapunzel or even Secret Garden air of mystery. There has to be story in this abandoned industrial machine housing.
But I haven't been able to find anyone who know anything about it. It probably is 19th century and wasn't used for very long as wind was replaced by steam at some point in the latter stages of that century. It's leaning state probably dictated it be part demolished, but why leave it standing at all?
I don't know when this picture was taken but I assume it was the end of the 19th or early 20th century (there is a steam traction engine in another view of it ) . I assume it's the same building but either the ground around it has changed massively or else it was built into the ground as the modern structure has the windows much higher above the ground. I am not even convinced that these two are the same structure as the proportions do not correspond in my eyes. The modern structure looks too small in diameter and the windows too widely spaced. Also I think that St Mary's Church should be visible on the right in background of the old photo but all I can see is a farm house which is not here now. The mill also is further from the water's edge than now but the River Nene is not natural in shape and this may well have changed as the banks were being worked when this picture was taken and river was dammed near where the photographer was stood. There is no evidence on the ground of the circular tract which was used to turn the sails and the ground around the modern building is very uneven and there is a brick covered culvert running in front of the door (this is on the opposite side of this photo and it's a large archway which is mostly bricked up. I assume that this was to allow for the large cast iron gear wheels and pump which would have been housed in the mill to be placed inside and once in situ the arch bricked in leaving a doorway for maintenance which has subsequently been further bricked up) The surrounding fields are considerable lower by at least 2 metres if not more. This mill was probably built to drain Ugg Mere a large shallow lake which was adjacent to the south of it. So the shrinkage in these field was due to drainage done by the mill. And once the Mere was drained there was no use for the mill except in severe winters.
Today I went off into the Fens (over the other side of the river about 200 yds from the house!) to photograph my Sea Henge Mother Earth Scarf "on location" and found the bog oak tree stump which inspired my original design. It is abandoned under a willow hedge but the nettles and sticky weed had well and truly smothered it as we have had lots of thunder rain here in the last week. So I trampled some out of the way and set up Claudette ( so named for the heroine of 70's O level French text book, she not French but looks sophisticated to me with her well turned beech neck) in the space next to a rabbit run. It's a really surreal thing to carry a dummy around as my neighbours all give me a cheery hello but pointed don't ask me why I am carrying her. The kids think I'm really creepy and say why did you name it!! I tell them I'm just respecting the female form. They are not convinced and steer clear. So she stands in front of the tree stumps whose roots are just visible on the right of this picture. Behind the hedge is the leaning black mill, St Mary's Mill. The land is so flat round here that this was a landmark until they put in the wind turbine a mile up the road. Now it's home to owls and kestrels and pigeons and crows and I have even seen a goose standing on the top of it curved wall. The light was good and the breeze was perfect. Got some great shots and put Mother Earth into the store.
My name is Sarah and I design and paint silk scarves in my Cambridgeshire studio in the Fens. I think of my scarves as wearable art. I caught the scarves bug from a trip to Rome where every Italian woman I saw wore a fabulous scarf . I tried to buy story scarves but found nothing that reflected my ideas so I decided to paint my own...