Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sunflowers and Talavera in Needlepoint

Sunflowers, beloved in Mexico both as fresh flowers and in art of all kinds - even paper flowers - are actually atypical of Talavera-style ceramics. I'm seeing more and more of them, as well as the calla lilies, so having taken them for granted my entire life, I decided to investigate the symbolism.

I already knew they have the characteristic of heliotropism - they turn toward the sun as it travels across the sky - and the Spanish word for this flower is "tornasol," which means "turns toward the sun."

The sunflower is native to the Americas, and evidence has been found that they were cultivated in Mexico as long ago as 2600 B.C. Sometime, probably in the early 14th century, they became important to the Aztecs in their worship of the Sun God.

Artifacts depicting this flower have also been found among Toltec and Mayan archeaological treasures, and in Peru among Inca artifacts.

Lately, in my current binge of painting crosses adapted from the Talavera style, I've really enjoyed the sunflower designs, and intend to do at least one for myself. They are so joyful looking!

Also, it gives me a good excuse to use the wonderful new supply of Kreinik blending filament I've acquired! (no stash control here). The fact that these blending filaments are available in the Vintage finish makes them more useful, as it gives a variety of looks that don't include the sparkle. I feel the pattern on these needs a bit of zing, and this helps, but too much sparkle would not be good.

I use only the DMC cotton floss for the basketweave, and add the BF to that. ONLY on the pattern, though, as the background needs to stay in the back and not compete with the design.

I'm showing mine, as it's ready to begin - I don't like painting the canvases I intend to stitch, as:
1. I'm too lazy. 2. It's more entertaining to work this way, as it's a bit like "paint by numbers" in that it's fun to see the color filling up the white spaces. The outlines are all stitched with Kreinik metallic braid #12 in navy 018HL. Perfect for Talavera - and there is also the same color in blending filament for the navy dots in the diaper pattern!

Oh - I forgot to mention that I've actually found a place to use beads on this one! The center of the flower with that cross hatching is perfect for enhancement with a few beads - so I marked it with a brown Sharpie on the weft stitches to accomodate beads in the little dips. I'll work on the stitching tomorrow, hopefully.

1 comment:

Jan said...

These are beautiful little pieces! Of the three you showed, I like the one you chose to stitch the best. I need to learn how to use blending filament, so I'll be watching closely.