Work continues on the sweetbag.  It’s slow going but bit by bit things are filling in.

One thing that I will remember next time:  It’s a lot easier to do the outlining in black thread if the design on the linen is in a different color.  So better to use a sepia colored pen or a grey pen or something.  Stitching black on a black line is just confusing.

I also put the first little bit of plaited braid on the sweetbag, and it might have been easier to do that before the outline.  The plaited braid was a little nerve wracking and following the curve is a little awkward.  Hopefully I’ll get better with more practice.

People sometimes ask me why I’m all over the map on the stitching.  The answer is, I get bored if I do all the outlining first and wait until the very end to do all the background stitching.  So, I tend to alternate between black, color threads and metal threads.  It might not be the best method, but it keeps me from getting bored.

Here’s the sweetbag to date and the first bit of plaited braid.


Adding gold


So it seems I was right in the middle of working on this and getting in to the crunch time of trying to finish the scroll in time for presentation at 12th Night and so caught up in finishing that I didn’t keep up with the blog.

The first step after calligraphy on most scrolls is the gilding. Now, this isn’t gilded, I didn’t use real gold, but it was easy to do the gold next in the order of things.

The gold in the center of the inhabited letter and the first letters of Alexander’s name is sumi gold. It’s my favorite gold paint. It comes in a little ceramic pan in several shades of gold (as well as silver and a few other colors). It’s usually available where Japanese calligraphy supplies are sold but the best price seems to be online at jerrysartarama.com (they have pretty good prices on a lot of other things as well.)

The secret to sumi gold is to add the right amount of water to keep the gold smooth and not letting it get thick and clumpy (which means adding water as you go along and the paint dries out.)


(apologies if this goes out twice)