Friday, April 24, 2020

Oriental Mood I and II

(Above:  Oriental Mood I and II.  Altered oriental screen.  Each side is 26 1/2" x 17 1/2".  Vintage oriental embroideries and silk matting.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Sometimes I buy things at auction for no better reason than "no one else wanted them".  Such was the case with two Oriental screens.  A better "before" picture would have shown that these two panels were in horrible shape.  The backgrounds were badly foxed (brown spots) and showed other time-weary signs of aging.  One had holes in it.  The thin, wooden frames were scratched.  One looked as if a rat gnawed on it.  No one bid on these two items; so I raised my hand for the six-dollar minimum and took them home.  They sat in a back room for months waiting for time and attention.

 (Above:  Oriental Mood II, In progress photos.)

If "sheltering in place" isn't the right time, I don't know when it would be!  So I tackled the first piece, the one with the worse damage.  It went well enough that I documented the process when transforming the second one.  From left to right, the photo above shows 1) the piece "as it was", 2) the removal of the flimsy frame, and 3) the embroidery with silk mat cut away from the screen onto which it had been attached.
 (Above:  Oriental Mood II, in progress.)

From top to bottom and left to right, the photo above shows 1) the wooden screen to which the embroidery had been attached, still showing some of the papers covering it, 2) the wooden screen sanded, 3) the trimmed mat and the beginning of the trimming for the embroidery, and 4) the embroidery elements trimmed away from the very, very brittle and foxed paper.

  (Above:  Oriental Mood II, in progress.)

From top to bottom and left to right, the photo above shows 1) a piece of vintage fabric selected as the new background, 2) Wonder Under with facing paper ironed to the surface of the fabric, 3) gold, silver, and light green metallic foil ironed onto the Wonder Under, and 4) the embroidery elements ironed onto the new surface.

 (Above:  Oriental Mood II, in progress.)

From left to right, the photo above shows that 1) I've covered the surface with another layer of Wonder Under and a piece of very sheer black chiffon and 2) free-motion stitching around the elements.

The piece was trimmed to a size slightly larger than the mat open and then later glued using Yes! paste to acid-free foam centered boards.  I'm not entirely sure the dark background was a good idea but at least the pieces have been given a new lease on life.  The silk threads of the embroidery were close to disintegration but are now secure under the layer of Wonder Under and chiffon.  Photographs really don't capture the beauty of the metallic foiling, but in person there is a regal element because of this rich addition.  It was a fun exercise and a good feeling to revive these once beautiful pieces!  Below are two detail shots.

 (Above:  Oriental Mood I, detail.)

(Above:  Oriental Mood II, detail.)


Ann Scott said...

I'm believe I'll have to read this post again to completely understand your process but I understand enough to know you are very clever. I love how you finds these discarded "treasures" for near nothing, rescue them, and give them new life.

Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

totally agree on your "reinstatement from discarded to new life" ...

Margaret said...

I found myself going back and forth in the photos to see how you worked this out...and I for one like the addition of the black chiffon, as it subdues the foil without detracting from the lovely motif in the centre. Regal and elegant! :-)