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Embroidering Venus

Last year, I took an online class with the excellent Morbid Anatomy which focussed on the history of the Anatomical Venus. Their site explains her best:

"Reclining on velvet cushions with Venetian glass eyes, strings of pearls, and golden tiaras crowning their real human hair, Anatomical Venuses were created in eighteenth-century Florence to teach the general public about the mysteries of the human body. The Venus also tacitly communicated the relationship between the human body and a divinely created cosmos; between art and science, nature and mankind."

Tales from the Circus - Hellige

Once upon a time, Hellige was not the hirsute vision of loveliness that we now know & adore, but just another pretty little rich girl.

When not playing in the chateau grounds she was taught by a veritable battalion of tutors, schooled in the vital feminine arts of hairstyling & harpsichord, watercolour & waltz, floristry & fencing.

Thus it was at vast expense that young Hellige was moulded into the finest marriage material and looked upon as a grand investment by a father intent upon using her to advance himself amongst the creme of the aristocracy.

The Ethical Minefield of Fibres

The land & its spirits lie at the very heart of the Itinerant Bizarrium, both as a source of folkloric inspiration and as an ethical concern. This planet is all we have, and it crucial to all our futures that we respect and care for it.

Thus I try to make informed ethical choices in everything I do & create, beginning with fibres & textiles.


 

Once upon a time, in the shadows of the forest....

Do you ever look back across the years, wondering just what it was that shaped your tastes, your imagination, your very view of the world?  Whenever I do, my mind settles upon the childhood years I spent roaming the flat lands of East Anglia on my trusty bicycle.

 

 

A mercifully brief history of moi

As a small child, I lived with my former-milliner grandmother in an East Anglian village stalked by windmills, the forest on the horizon.  These were the days before computers, before cable television (let alone streaming services), with just two buses a week heading to the nearest market towns.  We made our own diversions, and when the icy winds of winter swept in across the North Sea that, for me, meant sitting before the fire, learning sewing skills.

Tools of the Trade - The What & Why

One facet of my commitment to building a sustainable business concerns the hardware used to create my work.  After all, it is not only the obviously environmentally-impactful elements like fabrics that have consequences - everything we choose to buy has baggage, and I am trying to make myself a list of suppliers whose ethos aligns with mine. (Please note, none of the following are affiliates - this is an honest list of what I use and why)

 

Fragments of Alba - how they came to be

Rumour has it that some folks are interested in how inspiration strikes and a collection develops...

In this case, I was intent upon creating a group of burlesque-inspired figures and had got as far as trawling Pinterest for pictures to form a mood-board when I began taking a correspodence course with the fabulous Johanna of The Pale Rook.  An early exercise was taking a sheet of tissue paper, subjecting it to whatever folds, twists and pinches came to mind and see what it suggested.....Every last one of my experiments looked like a Victorian lady :

 

Tales from the Circus - Bombadil von Rammstein

 

To anyone who knows him now, Bombadil's performing life began in the most unlikely manner since he spent his boyhood years as a (somewhat reluctant, it must be said) choirboy.

His days of singing practice & surruptitious wine-drinking were brought to an abrupt end, however, one snowy Christmas Eve.  Whilst walking home from kirche still clad in his Sunday best lederhosen, young Bombadil fell prey to a press-gang & was bundled aboard a brig headed for Batavia, kept below decks for days until they were safely out of sight of European shores.

A Perfect Time for Alice

Well, what an interesting year this has turned out to be.... although by "interesting", I actually mean "unforeseeably crazy".  Maybe that's why "Alice" came to the fore?  Perhaps we have all fallen down a rabbithole...

Alice in Wonderland

 

 


 

Lewis Carroll was not the first to notice the craziness of hatters - apparently the phrase "mad as a hatter" was first used about one Robert Crab, an   eccentric Englishman who, in the 1650s, gave all his goods to the poor and lived on dock leaves and grass.

New Work in a New Style

Following on from my last post, when I was beginning to assimilate what I learned from Johanna of The Pale Rook...

Epona was my first real success at combining textiles, embroidery, and a little bit of painting into something that felt authentically "Bizarrium".


Magda adds some wire-work to the mix; iron wire will continue to rust and add to her texture.


Lavernia came next, with lashings of antique lace and a whimsical tail.


Just this week, I made Arunas with his quilted wings and tail.

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