A Festive Window


A Festive Window
A Festive Window

I simply adore Christmas and although I no longer go to church I love visiting over the festive period. My Religious Collection is inspired by the classical architecture, stonework and stained glass windows. Using traditional techniques of padded applique and patchwork produce strong textile designs to be adorned in light reflective embellishment. Let us explore how to create a festive window.

A FESTIVE WINDOW – ARCHITECTURE INSPIRING DESIGN

The thick stone of inset windows is easy to replicate in fabric using layers of wadding between your background and design fabric. The thicker the padding the more 3D effect you will achieve producing a contoured surface into which you can design your flat ‘window’. ‘Jesus 1’ was created from patterned recycled vintage fabrics from my childhood. Combining pattern and texture (crushed velvet) creates a visual density within the design.

A Festive Window
thick padded walls
A Festive Window
pattern and texture

A FESTIVE WINDOW – STAINED GLASS

Original church windows were hand crafted and inset with lead in a basic colour palette of blue, green, red, yellow and white depicting images from the bible.

A Festive Window
stained glass church window

Simple fragmented shapes using flat and padded applique creates a sharp design. The face of Jesus in ‘Jesus 1’ was machine stitched with neat edges and no embellishment other than the beard detail (machine embroidery) in a warm colour palette of black, peach, white and red. The flat face is encased in individual 3D velvet roses. Recycled materials include velvet, silk and satin, each possessing their own light reflective qualities.

A Festive Window
simple applique – face of Jesus 1

Jesus 2 is embellished in buttons and layered off-cuts, hand embroidered with a cross stitch, to raise the flat surface. Red sequins enhance eyes, a nod to the suffering of Christ. A sombre colour palette of brown, mushroom and ivory is enriched by the carefully chosen buttons.

A Festive Window
embellished applique – face of Jesus 2

A FESTIVE WINDOW – STORYTELLING

Church windows were created with images from the bible, tales of morality for the masses. ‘Mother and Child’ depicts a padded alter adorned in 3D flowers, the vintage fabric enhanced in beads and sequins. The figures of Mary and baby Jesus are thickly padded, creating an undulating surface of deep folds. The huge halo surround is an extension of the gold crochet halo panels inspired by the depiction of saints.

A Festive Window
morality and storytelling

Applique joins are embellished in a panel of layered sequins, the ‘lead’ between stained glass. Mirrored tiles and sequins are light reflective, adding a dimension of eternal life.

A Festive Window
applique joins embellished in sequins

I do hope you have enjoyed ‘A FESTIVE WINDOW’ and are inspired to visit a church over the Christmas period. For more detail on my Religious Collection visit https://www.ccunningham-textileartist.com/ and https://ma9798.wixsite.com/natural-gallery . You could collect the wrappers from your chocolates and make a window design in place of fabric. Sellotape blocks of colour together to create a panel for your window and let the light shine through.

A FESTIVE WINDOW
cellophane chocolate wrappers

Wishing you all a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS xxx

Christine Cunningham

Creating art from recycled materials using traditional methods (applique, patchwork, quilting) with a modern exploration into fabric manipulation and padded structure. Unusual materials include hair, plastic, rubber, metal, disintegrating fabrics and found objects. I source my treasures from carboot sales, charity shops and freecycle. Original poetry captures the essence of an experience, an emotional layering to which the viewer can relate on a personal level. I have two bodies of work. The Natural Collection explores abstract flower design and the seasons, religion, visions of India and Buddhism, childhood nostalgia and the seaside. The Womanhood Collection explores natural states of being including breast cancer, sexuality, the ageing process, anatomy, love, fragility and independence. I was inspired by my own experiences of breast cancer, both the physical brutality and fragility of living in the aftermath.

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