Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Paisleys, Boxes & The Process

I have always loved paisleys.  Since I was little, something about their exuberant colors and whimsical shape always struck a note with me.   A couple of years ago I started thinking I might do some sort of project with them, so I started collecting images.  I have a huge board of them on Pinterest (   From that I sorted them out into the ones I liked best and now I have a slightly less huge file of them on my computer.  Yes, I confess - I'm a paisley hoarder.  But I knew that someday I would have the moment when that hoard reached critical mass and became some awesome project.  Well, Monday was that day. 

I have this box - well, I should say I have lots of boxes.  I love little boxes, and besides having them on Pinterest, I have real ones stacked on my dresser - artfully stacked, mind you, but there are more than just a few.  There is one particular one that I got at a second hand shop that has a picture frame lid on it.  Once it held two pictures, but, due to some sad accident, the divider came unstuck, and that's what ended it up in the second hand shop.  I put decorative brass corners on it, because I love the look that has and because they actually do protect the corners.  It is a nice size - about 8" x 10" and divided into two compartments inside, which is a good size and layout for a sewing box.  I even took out its original plain glass and got UV archival glass cut for it to protect whatever is going to go into it.  The problem I have with picture frame boxes is that I never have just one idea for them.  So, in the absence of being able to decide, they just become several things, a sequence of things, but I'm never quite satisfied.  The last incarnation for this one was the sampler I did to go with the research paper I wrote on kasuti.  (  Although it did well as a sampler display, I wasn't all that delighted with it in the long term.  And for the past while I've been fiddling with that box and the idea of paisley, but the right AHA! moment hadn't come along - until Monday.  The kicker was wanting a slightly more complex pattern to practice with tambour and work its way into techniques that I want to use to make an embroidered tunic for my siginificant other.   Yes, paisleys and the box lid for a trial piece and then.....

Someone pinned a carved wooden print block, and the image fulfilled all the criteria I had for the paisley idea.  It was a group of them.  It had flowers.  It was a sort of line drawing that I could customize.  It was even a lotus made of paisleys.  I loved the whole idea.  So I have spent a while snatching moments to customize the image to fit on the box lid.  It has come a long way and has yet a way to go before its done, but I am truly pleased with its potential.  It will have a framing Mughal arch.  I have to make up my mind about the major colors.  It will be done in tambour with other stitches added.  So this moment is the celebration of the Great Aha! The light bulb moment when the plan finally came together.  And, yes, the arch is coming together with much greater clarity.

I have some lovely silk thread I've saved for just such an occasion.  And even though all these parts have taken their own sweet time, they have finally arrived at the perfect moment in my stream of artistic consciousness.  I love it when a hoard, a box and a plan finally come together.
Paisley Lotus Box Lid Design (c) 2013 Maya Heath

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