My best man-friend Simon (the Rev) Whittaker had not long completed his Celebrants Course when I made him this beautiful cushion. It’s the logo of the Fellowship of Celebrants he trained with and belongs to, and he really wasn’t expecting it, so the look on his face when he saw it for the first time was reward enough for having done so!
It probably only took me about a gazillion working hours, so it was just a mere trifle I knocked up for him on a whim … NOT! It was one huge labour of love, undertaken so that lovely people can exchange their vows and their rings with love, and so that gorgeously cute little page boys can deliver the rings looking properly adorable carrying the beautiful ring pillow with the reverse appliqué’d logo of the Fellowship of Celebrants providing the celebrant who’s marrying them – and I poured every spiritual blessing I could muster into it while I was engaged in the process. It really was a very joyful occupation. Doing something very special like this for someone who really deserves that kind of attention is a huge blessing in itself, and not a day goes by that I don’t feel overjoyed to not only have such a friend, but also the capability to produce so lovely a thing for him.
And here it is in action, so to speak 🙂
Such things are few and far between though, as it’s not that often that a picture on a card or letter head inspires me to such action, or that the lengthy processes involved in its construction, the materials to do it with, and the energy to figure it all out and undertake it come together so satisfyingly. But, every now and again the inspiration and commodities come together in such a way that I can dig really deep and find the energy to work them all into the one beautiful article.
So, how did I do it? It’s what I’d call reverse appliqué cutwork – I’m not properly schooled in any practical disciplines other than archaeology and history, so I just work out how to do something with the resources I find around me in the shed, loft, or my work basket and do what seems best for each task! I traced the logo, blew it up on my scanner to the size I wanted for the cushion pad, and transferred the pattern onto a piece of the Egyptian cotton left over from the most amazing dress (yes, I’ll do a post on that too, some time!) I made from an old and very much loved duvet cover I couldn’t bear to throw out – it has little turtles in self-coloured jacquard running through the weave of the fabric. I reinforced all the materials with soft woven cotton interfacing so it didn’t fray at the leafy edges of the tree design. Next came the painstaking process of cutting the intricate design out so that the pattern of the logo would show through, once I’d layered first the black silk of the tree trunk on the underside, and then the coarser red cotton left over from a friend’s garden chair covers underneath that. Once all the layers were firmly in place came the sedulous task of appliqué-ing them all together on the topside by machine sewing the Egyptian cotton edges of every red leaf and black trunk and bough in place with a fine, close zigzag stitch, in matching off-white thread so it can’t be seen unless you’re up really close. I was seeing stars by the time it was finished, but, boy, was it ever worth it.
I was going to make a Roman mosaic-esque cushion of the famous mosaic doorstep pattern from Herculaneum for one of the four-poster doggie beds using the same technique. The mosaic in question reads cave canem and has a ferocious-looking pooch in attack position with fangs bared and red tongue lolling menacingly, but I haven’t got round to that yet, although I did make my best girl-friend Sarah a rather lovely Vintage Vogue skirt for her last birthday out of the fabric left over from some curtains I made for her quite some years ago. Maybe I need more best friends to inspire me to create more beautiful things for.