Sunday, August 5, 2018

A chinoiserie fan

My latest work is heavily inspired by this 1770s or-80's fan found somewhere online (probably eBay).
Original (as you can see from the ornate ivory sticks)

My copy (and yes, I wish it had been possible to make a wider leaf).

The original silk leaf is not just embellished with sequins but gold thread embroidery too. Something that would take a long time to reproduce, not to mention that it would make the fan awfully expensive. 

So I made a single paper leaf as usual, with glued on sequins (to avoid ugly threads that would need to be covered up on the reverse). The plain, unpainted bamboo sticks from Nehelenia Patterns were sawn off at the bottom, taken apart and painted with red lacquer and chinoiserie patterns in gold. And as usual, the rivet was replaced with a tongue piercing barbell (with a matching red paste stone!)
Of course, I couldn't resist painting the reverse too, to make it look more like the original fan and besides, there is no such thing as too many roses... ;-)

Despite everything, the fan took at least eight to ten working days to finish and ended up ridiculously expensive. About as expensive as the real thing, or a new gown... A limited number of less pricey, customisable printed copies of this fan will soon be available in my Etsy shop, however!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Droughtlander fan art!

I have always found the concept of time travelling paradoxes puzzling to the point of annoying (and besides - had it been possible, I wouldn't really like to live in the 18th century  - the lack of hot baths and modern comforts and medicine would surely put me off.)  So I never picked up Diana Gabaldon's Outlander novels and was reluctant to watch the TV series... until I stumbled across the thing on Netflix two years ago. And suddenly I found myself spending the long ”Droughtlander” months making fan art (pun intended!) in honour of Mrs. Gabaldon's and the Starz channel's work. Resistance is futile!

Printed and hand coloured paper leaf  with "mother of pearl
fragments" on painted wooden sticks.
The classical motif of Mars (Jamie Fraser) laying down his arms at the feet of Venus (Claire Fraser) appearing in a cloud (out of the stone circle to the right) with attendant putti, was heavily inspired by a printed and hand coloured fan from the 1720s or 30s in the collection of the Fan Museum in Greenwich.

Having spent my own ”time travelling” and fan making projects mainly in the latter part of the 18th century, this was the first time I ever tried to reproduce an early 18th century fan. I do think it's quite good for a first attempt, though, and also a great but subtle way for an Outlander obsessed reenactor to show their love for Mrs. Gabaldon's universe (or Sam Heughans physique, or whatever ;-) )
For those interested, printed copies of this fan will soon be available in a limited number in my Etsy shop.

Je suis prest!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

My first 18th century fan

The design is really simple, just carved bone and a plain silk leaf, so I guess there's not much to say about it... except that this is my first ”real” 18th-century fan, dating from the 1790s or somewhere around 1800 and found on eBay some years ago. It surely was very pretty before it started to fall into pieces. I really like the cream and silver colour scheme.

The leaf, made of very, very fine silk, is incredibly thin. Even though it's double it's much thinner than modern paper. As you can see it is falling apart and some pieces are missing. One stick is missing as well and one is damaged. 

This carved design was quite common during this period, my latest find
has a similar pattern.

I have been wondering for some time if it would be worth the bother to have it repaired, and I honestly doubt it. Fans are generally sold for their spare parts at this stage of decay. The thought of stripping the sticks and making a nice new leaf is tempting, but I won't yield to that temptation... for now at least.