In part 2 of my preparation for this assessment piece I started working on the model for Mary Tudor. I used Ray Slater's stuffed doll pattern and made the body with bent legs so she could sit on a thrown/chair. I think I might try the stump doll pattern as well, as this has a heavy conical base which would allow the model to stand, therefore showing off the costume more elegantly.
I only constructed one arm and leg as I felt this would be enough to trial the costume.
I then turned my attention to the head and needle sculpted the features, after which I stuck closely to the original sketch of Kathy Stark's portrayal of Mary and using a 3b black pencil and a very fine 0.2 drawing pen I drew in the facial characteristics. I used a hand dyed cotton for the head in a blue/grey, but for further experiments I will use a greyer colour and also the same lightweight fine cotton that I used for the body, this one was too loose a weave and a nightmare for fraying.
I was quite pleased with the way the facial expression is going, I hope with a bit more work I will have what I'm looking for. Ray slater says she tends to make 3 heads and then chooses her favourite.
Lastly on the model I worked on the hand. It was very difficult to turn the fingers through, particularly with the open weave cloth I used. However I think I did achieve a crone like appearance and will work on this for the final model, marking in veins and liver spots and then offsetting that with some kind of beautiful cuff and rings.
Next I started to look at the possibilities for the costume itself. I spent quite a long time researching images of Mary trying to find a gown with the most ornamentation on it. Finally I found what I was looking for in the upper LH image of the composite below. With the design of this dress I thought I could hand work some metallic braids (centre sample) using the patterns on Katarine Parre's dress as inspiration. When worked to scale these were very fiddly to work. On the RHS I've couched 4 strands of Madeira gold thread, with metallic tomato paste tube in between representing spangles. To define the row I couched down gold purl.
The LHS run was much easier as I used fine wire moulded into shape and couched down.
The pattern design for the underskirt has been taken from Owen Jones, The Grammar of Ornament, Elizabethan plate No.1 (small inset centre bottom above) . As this is quite a complicated design and it will need to be reproduced in a whole piece to cut the pattern I thought it would be the ideal opportunity to use the Bernina digital software and stitch it out in gold thread. I have a lot of experimenting to do with the costume including the headdress and sleeves of course, but I was very fortunate that Ann gave me the names of the pattern books by Janet Arnold and I was able to loan them from the library, thank you so much.
I will use the pattern in the above composite and will obviously have to alter it to accommodate the underskirt, also there is no pattern for the headdress, just the photo, so further research will be required there.
I have not decided yet whether to make this a totally hand worked piece as far as the costume is concerned and therefor keep the authenticity, or add some contemporary embroidery to give it more of an edge than just the uncomfortable juxstaposition of beautiful finery and miserable decrptitude.
I have been very lucky to have spotted several books, blogs and tv programs that centre around the Tudor period which is very helpful in giving me an overall flavour of the time.
My future research plans for this project, if accepted as suitable, will be as follows.
A study of Tudor textiles, I may need some ideas of where to start with this one.
A visit to Hampton Court to perhaps see portraits of Mary
A visit to The Knitting and Stitch show in October for doll making materials and tools, plus fabrics and yarns for the costume.