Elizabeth asked :-
You posted at the beginning of your challenge that Marsha would be pleased to answer any questions and I hope you can ask her some for me. I would like to ask Marsha how long it takes her to chart a sampler, match the colours etc - how does she decided what symbols to use for threads and if she is starts a chart how does she start? What does she find frustrating / interesting about the process?
The length of the process of charting varies according to the complexity of the design, the condition of the original, and whether or not I have access to the back side to examine the unfaded colors. If, for example, I'm working from a museum piece in exchange for royalties paid, it's rare to be able to work from the original and examine the back side, and that kind of work takes longer than charting a sampler that I own. With samplers that I own, I'm able to disassemble them and examine both sides very carefully during the charting process, and once the chart is done they are sent off to a textile conservator for cleaning and remounting.
There is a kind of "art" to selecting symbols. You don't want them to be too similar especially if they abut each other (for example a large "O" beside a minuscule "o"). The chart is easier to read if the symbols are bold and distinctly different.
If it's an original design, rather than a reproduction, I begin with a freehand pencil sketch over grid paper, and from there the process is pretty random, like putting the Muse through a blender. Colors aren't firm until linen is in hand, and then it's thrashed out laboriously until the palette suits me. It's awfully frustrating when I can't find just the right colors, or when I've spent days filling in with a color that is all wrong. In that respect reproductions are much easier to chart than originals---no guesswork, unless there are holes to be spanned often requiring leaps of imagination.
Thank you Elizabeth and Marsha, it is very interesting to read about the process.
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