Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Lindisfarne Beasts

Next year, the Lindisfarne Gospels are coming back North.  From July to September 2013, the Gospels will leave the British Library and be on display at Durham Cathedral.

The Gospels, one of the great treasures of Anglo-Saxon art, are reflected in several of the Cathedral's textiles, and in the lead-up to the Gospels' arrival the North East Region of the Embroiderers' Guild are holding an exhibition in the Galilee Chapel inspired by them.  Entitled Lindisfarne: Faith, Inspiration & Stitch, members are invited to make items for display.

The exhibition starts in May, which is less time than you'd think, so if I want to produce something I need to get a move on.  I'd been wondering what to do, when, while looking through old designs hunting for something quite else, I came across this:

Much like the White Horse design, I drew this a long time ago for completely other purposes, but it's perfect for what I need now.

These beasties - a dog and two birds - were inspired by the intricate interwoven animal designs on the magnificent cross carpet designs in the Gospels, especially this page.

I'll be using my favourite techniques to stitch it, but first things first - I need to transfer it to fabric.  I want to work it directly onto fine linen, so a transfer is out as they always smudge.  I decided the simplest and most practical approach is to trace it.

I don't have a light box (I really ought to invest in one), but improvising with a sheet of Perspex with a torch under it seems to do the trick.

It's a bit fiddly and is taking a while as I can't afford to rush and make mistakes, so this is progress so far:

Over half way, at any rate!


  1. That will be lovely. What colours are you thinking?

  2. Hi Heather - I'm not sure, I haven't got that far yet! Probably quite stong colours, though. I'll have to see what I fancy doing.

  3. Hello dear,
    I'm back after a bit of a blog break - and just in time to see you start a new project! The intensity of the illumination of the Lindisfarne is just up your alley, I think!
    And can I please come in your suitcase to the exhibition to see the works and the book? I was lucky enough to see a page of the Book of Kells in an exhibition here in Melbourne a few years ago. Needless to say - wow.

  4. I'm sure it will be magnificent. The illuminated gospels have such wonderful illustrations. For colors, maybe green, dark red, and gold (of course!). I agree with the strong colors, this doesn't strike me as something suitable for pastels.