Following sorting through my collection of Ranworth photographs (see previous post) it is time to begin working up the design, its shapes and colours.
First, I look for an appealing sequence of motifs and patterns.
Then, I open one or two photos on the computer screen and with continual reference to these images I start to mix the colours I want to use. It is worth noting that it’s only really since the mid-19th century when William Henry Perkin discovered aniline dyes that the option for very bright, clean colours has been available. Even if used as a dilution, the basic, unmixed dyes are too sharp, too harsh. For my work to achieve the more muted, slightly muddy colours similar to the variety of pigments, dyes and gilding of the medieval screens, I mix either a little brown or grey into each colour blend.
Once I’m happy with the colours I work up some small scale designs in my sketchbook.
Then it’s time to pin out the silk.