Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Banner making for Trillium War (with pictures)

Yes, I know this is a leatherworking blog and silk banners have nothing to do with leather. But I'm still posting it here because we've been wanting to make some silk banners for a while now, and we finally got around to doing it heading into Trillium War this past weekend.

But don't worry, I have a Trillies update coming too and that'll be largely about leatherwork, and I have a huge slate of projects on the go so there will be a number of project updates coming over the next two months.

So, to the banners.

Avelyn and I had previously purchased all of the supplies to make silk banners, but we didn't have the frames. We'd bought some copper pipes to make the frames but didn't necessarily have pieces short enough for small banners, so the week before Trillies we went out and bought a some more pieces. So we're now fully stocked (we also ordered some more brushes and such that we picked up at Trillies from HE Percival, so we're now setup to be Talfryn's eastern banner making hub). :)

So the first attempt at a banner was one we did jointly, with both of our main heraldic charges (I'm the kraken, she's the comet). We did the banner quartered and then did a purple and white border around the edges. I used a pre-hemmed silk scarf from our supplies, which made it a bit easier to work with.

You'll notice in the pictures below its a bit faded, that's because of a flaw in the instructions we got with our dye supplies. They were great up until the end, where it said to fix the dye and gutta using an iron, and then wash it out. What it didn't say is to wait 3-4 days before you wash it, to let the dye set. We only found that out when we went to the manufacturer's web site and read their instructions afterwards. 

As a result, the colours are faded and the black gutta didn't leave black lines like we expected. Lesson learned - in consultation with others it seems like they don't even bother washing it afterwards so we know better now.

You'll also see the lovely banner stand topper that we got. It was an awesome birthday gift from Their Excellencies Eleanor and Menken. I'm super please, it works like a charm and the artwork is fabulous!!! 

After the first quasi success (I admit there was a lot of swearing after the black lines washed out, and many emails and Facebook messages to try to figure out what happened), I decided I wanted to do another one. I thought it would be nice to have a small kraken sign to put up outside my classrooms at Trillies since I'd be teaching two classes (more to come in my next post on that). So I used a narrow pre-hemmed scarf to make a small personal banner that could hang from some of the modern garden stands that we have. This one I think turned out really well! Need to improve my painting technique a bit to avoid the overlap areas on the big stretches (I'm told its because the dye was drying faster than I was painting)..

But of course it wouldn't be fair to just do one for myself, so after I got mine done, I started on one for Avelyn. Thankfully I booked the week off to prep for Trillies so I could do it during the day, given the time it took to do the gutta lines. Hers is rather complicated. Here's the picture of the black lines without dye.

And here it is with the dye. I think it looks super sexy, the purple and white lozengy really pops. I might go with a different colour border next time, not sure about the yellow and black, but we didn't want purple because we thought it would be too busy given the complexity of the lozengy. We also made the bars in the border longer than in mine by about double so it would be less busy.

And here they are side by side on our modern stand (its actually a target shooting stand, but it collapses and is just the right size for these. We put little wooden dowels in the bottom to help wight it down a bit in the breeze, not sure that was super successful, they kept falling out. May need to rethink that.

Next up, I'm hoping to do a full 5-6 ft long standard for each of us. Hopefully in time for Summer Siege if I can get the rest of my projects going. My gutta line drawing could still improve, fewer blotches and blobs would be nice, but overall I think I'm getting the knack for these things.

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