This design had been whirling around in my brain for ages!
My Tree of Life bag was inspired by things I came into regular contact with in our local museums when I worked there; the bed hangings at the Oak House ( a Tudor House) along with other Tudor & Jacobean crewelwork embroideries seen in other museums.. unfortunately I don't have photos of any of these! And the William Morris wallpaper at Haden Hill House, William Morris created tapestries inspired by the older Tree of Life and Mille Fleur tapestries.. quite a few of his wallpapers remind me of them too. Anyway.. that was my inspiration.
SO.. I wanted to make a nice roomy, sturdy day bag. One that can happily carry everything you need for a day at work, or your knitting / crafty projects for a week away.
I cut a pretty huge template.. it was getting on for 4 foot long and nearly 1 1/2 foot wide.. I sprinkled lots of green and purple tussah silk on top of the resist, added pocket resists, and laid out 6 layers black on the inside and mallard green outside. I used a slightly coarser merino fibre than usual to make a heavier felt.
On top of the last layer I drew the design. Both sides are different.
One of the features in the Tree of Life embroideries that I absolutely LOVED is that the leaves, flowers and fruits were filled with intricate patterns.
|I used differently coloured and patterned silk sari's to create a similar effect|
I cut the motifs from vintage silk saris, laid them in place and outlined them with merino.
|All laid out and ready to felt|
Finally scattering more purple tussah silk onto the mallard green areas.
I was certainly ready to get felting by the time the design was finished! It took forever for such a simple looking design..
..A few years ago I had the task of setting up a William Morris printing workshop for children and families at Haden Hill House, a Victorian House with lots of William Morris wallpaper.. I immersed myself so much into his designs that I came out the other end quite convinced that we absolutely HAD to have some William Morris wallpaper in our living room - thank goodness I got over this before putting any up... I don't think it would have suited our old 3 bed semi :) lol