Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Alchemy 2014 - Marie Antoinette - 18th Century Fashion

Design Inspiration

On the 5th May 2014, I began the Alchemy class taught by  Karen Ruane.   Alchemy is a 12 week programme where Karen assists the participants to create piece of embroidery or textile art.  For the first few weeks we have been working on identifying our theme, looking at ideas and recording them in our ledger.  I participated in this class in 2013 and didnt get past the ledger recording stage. Ledgers play a huge part of the work we do with this class, and at the end of the 12 week programme even though i didnt have a completed piece of work, I came out of it with a book full of inspiration for future work.
My theme for Alchemy 2014 is "Marie Antoinette - 18th Century Fashion" along with looking at Christian Lacroix designs for inpiration to create a piece of embroidery. I am fascinated by the story of Marie Antoinette. While she is best remembered wearing the huge court panniers and high dressed hair of the mid 18th century, i have read that, as she grew older, she favoured a simpler life. She introduced the muslin dress, retreated to the quiet unregimented life at Petit Trianon and spent more time with her children than most monarchs of her era.

Mood Board of  pictures that inspire me.  Left - Christian Lacroix designs.  Right - 18th Century Fashion

Inspirational pictures mounted in my ledger

Mood Board - showing inspirational pictures along with colour study in thread, fabric and ribbon.

Close view of image from my Mood board.  The colour study includes lace, ribbon, fabric and wool

Close view of image from my Mood Board - Christian Lacroix inspired designs with sheer fabric,  embossed paper and sequin trimming.


  1. What a beautiful mood board. I too am drawn to Marie. Thank you for sharing your lovely ideas. I look forward to seeing where you go, with so many great colors and laces it will be very good.

  2. I am enjoying watching this unfold... I remember your work from Alchemy last year (in fact, I think I will go spend some time in that Flickr group soon!). You have such a wonderful way of pulling out the essence of an image, and creating a mood that while referencing it, is completely you as well... so interesting how you do that.

  3. I can see that all that you've pulled together here will be inspirational. I would love to embroider on the image of the 'veiled' woman in the first picture!

  4. love the embossed paper in the bottom image and it fits brilliantly with your ledger work...