Attempt number three at an embroidered face: blonde bombshell. I wanted to try combining goldwork and silk shading in one portrait, and since I don’t possess any brown metallic passing thread to couch down, my standard brunette model became blonde. (as before, total height 7cms.)
Just like the previous attempt, her hair is padded up to create depth. However, whereas with the brown cotton I had used 5 different tones, here I used one plain gold couched thread throuought. This is why the height of the padding and the natural shadows and highlights it creates are especially important.
The left and right sides are worked in different manufacturer’s gold thread, for comparison. The left is a much thinner thread and therefore easier to manipulate into delicate detail, but emerged to display a strange greenish shimmer that when viewed in ‘real life’ I really don’t like. The right is a standard gold passing, slightly thicker but much richer in colour. Interesting that various different metal threads all labelled as ‘gold’ possess slightly subtle colour differences depending on age and manufacturer: perhaps something to experiment with? (Oh, for the extensive drawer upon drawer of passing thread we had at Hand and Lock!)
Another significant difference is the direction of the facial stitches, this time not dead straight vertical rows but curved to the contours of the face. I think this is a much more successful ‘realistic’ representation, and research into faces worked during the ‘Opus Anglicanum’ medieval period confirm this to be the more common practice – so who am I to disagree!