Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pelican Hood

A lovely individual (Sabina Luttrell) was getting her Pelican at Yule in the Barony of Bergental. Unfortunately, through the complicated scheduling intricacies that are the SCA, there were only two and a half weeks to get everything ready.
So I was asked if I could embroider a Pelican onto a hood in a week.
Challenge accepted! (I did think about it first. Thanksgiving break factored into the success an awful lot.)

pienza-cope-orphreyI was asked a couple weeks beforehand - the short time frame was because the hood still needed to be made. While waiting for the hood, I did some research.
My only guidance was 14th century (and the time frame). I found Honor Before Victory had made an amazing maintenance cap, and took much of my inspiration from there.
They had based their pelican on the Pienza Cope, which has a tiny Pelican along the top edge. The cope is estimated to have been made in the early 14th century, and the Pelican didn't have spread wings, making it much simpler to embroider. Perfect!

The 14th century to me is the age of Opus Anglicanum, and I wanted to draw from that. Opus Anglicanum is, in large part, about the fineness and detail of the work, which of course I wasn't going to be getting on this piece, but it is also strongly associated with gold work and split stitch shading.
From the Textile Research Center

From the Index of Christian Art
Knowing from past experience that any goldwork was also going to be beyond my time frame, I set to work on split stitching the entire pelican, as well as her children.  I used three strands of Splendor throughout the piece.
 As for the nest, I couldn't decide what sort of stitches were used to get the very subtle basket weave effect. Other pelicans I had found in my initial research had much stronger patterns in the nest and so I went with one of those instead (from the Cope of the Passion).
I found that I didn't have as many shades of brown as I would have liked for the nest, and so the inside is two strands of brown and one strand of black. I'm not certain that this is appropriate to the period.

In the end, I didn't have time to completely fill in the nest, but I actually quite like how the darker lines look on the hood. I put the last stitch into the hood after the elevation ceremony had already started, so I was very glad I'd had the foresight to only fill in every other row!

In this picture you can see the entire hood, made by Lord Maurin, although only a peek of the embroidery.
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Photo by Mikjáll bogmaðr