I recently took a three-day needle painting workshop from Tanja Berlin , a graduate of the Royal School of Needlework. I have been wanting to learn this technique for some time but just never took the leap. I am usually pretty good at following instructions from books but for some reason this technique eluded me. Tanja is an excellent teacher. I would recommend her to anyone wanting to put on a needle painting workshop.
Tanja Berlin's Eastern Blue Bird
She began by having us trace the blue bird pattern onto velum tracing paper using a pencil. Then using a pricking tool, pricked holes along the design. Then we placed the tracing paper onto the fabric. We then rubbed pounce over the pricked tracing paper. Next we drew over the pounce lines using a sharp HB pencil. This process took a half day to do.
Tools of the trade
Below is what I was able to accomplish during the remaining 2 1/2 days.
Eastern Blue Bird in Progress
Stay turned for updates on this project (one among many, I am afraid).
A number of years ago I decided to make myself a spring coat. I had watched the movie Seven Years in Tibet, a movie about an Austrian mountain climber who befriends the Dalai Lama. I was quite fascinated with the garments and decided that I would make myself a modern day version. I chose a border design from the book Of Wool and Loom: The Tradition of Tibetan Rugs by Trinley Chodrak and Kesang Tashi.
I chose a rug border for the border of my coat that has the yungdrung symbol. This symbol is over 18 thousand years old and means “eternal” and “everlasting”.
Tibetan Rug with yungdrung border
Tibetan Saddle Rug
The colours chosen for the coat reflect the colours of the robes worn by Buddhist monks. Red is considered a sacred colour and yellow is the colour of humility.
Details of my Tibetan Coat
I knew that I had succeeded when a Buddhist monk approached me one day and told me that my coat represented symbols important to Tibetan Buddhist monks. That was the highest praise I could ever receive.
I have always been fond of whitework, in particular boutis/white corded quilting. Inspired by a book by Francine Nicolle called Petits Tresors de Boutis I decided to try my hand at boutis.
The process of making a boutis is somewhat different from your traditional quilt where you stitch three layers together consisting of a top, a fill and a backing. When creating a boutis, the top and backing are stitched together by hand following the design marked on the backing. The design usually consists of narrow channels and/or compartments. Cotton yarn is then inserted into the channels producing a bas-relief. The overall appearance of a boutis is quite stunning.
As I was expecting a granddaughter, I thought that it would be a nice small project to begin with before attempting a larger piece. Sixty hours later the bonnet and the jacket were completed. They were both stitched by hand with the exception of the bonnet’s crown piece and the jacket’s side seams.
Certain design elements were from Hubert Valeri’s book Boutis d’aujourd’hui.
After all this work, my granddaughter, Ruhiyya only wore it a couple of times before she outgrew it. Fortunately, another granddaughter, Kyrene, was born and the little bonnet and jacket have been passed on to her. I plan to do another boutis in the near future as I really enjoyed the process. Until next time, Happy Stitching!