CROSS STITCH DESIGNS
'SHAKESPEARE' Design Diary
This rough pencil illustration (sketched on a piece of scrap paper) was the original concept for this design. The letter 'S' could represent any number of things relating to Shakespeare... Swans, Stratford, Shylock, even Shakespeare himself.
(Please click on the thumbnails if you'd like a closer look at any of the images below.)
I've sketched Shakespeare's face and transferred it (through hand-drawing with a mouse) to the computer. This black and white print-out still adheres very closely to the lay-out of the pencil sketch above.
Shakespeare looked a bit lonely in the previous print-out. Feeling certain that his characters and ideas must have constantly danced through his mind, I decided to provide him with a little company.. this pen and pencil sketch (again on scrap paper) was intended to represent one of his Midsummer Night's fairies.
(Resting her elbows on the frame around Shakespeare's head, she'll gaze down on him from above).
As you can see in this colour print-out, the cheeky little fairy has now ousted the letter 'S'... she only looks winsome and adoring... she's really quite pushy!
The bottom of the picture has also been under assault - it's now occupied by a flock of swans.
Choosing colours is both a lot of fun and a royal pain! If it's too late in the day or if the sun refuses to come out, the results can be quite disastrous.
After playing on the computer screen with cool blues and earthy greens , I finally chose a plum-pink gown for the little fairy. (There's no reason though that she couldn't be talked into changing her dress if a stitcher really wanted her to).
(The scribbling and crossing out that you see on this card are my proof-reading marks)
The recipe for the Witch's Brew in Macbeth has always been one of my favourites... to read that is, not to eat! This red pen scribble on a scrap piece of school note-paper shows the early stages of the cauldron part of the design. This paper is very thin and you can see the 'Merchant of Venice' scales that never made it to the design showing through from the reverse side.
(The note '(p. 836)' refers to a "Complete Works of William Shakespeare" tome that I was given as a child... as you might imagine, it weighs a ton!)
The cauldron, bats, smokey skull and ''Macbeth' quote have taken their places. The single, block-enclosed letter 'S' has evolved into a free-flowing introduction to the word 'Stratford' and the 'Merchant of Venice' and 'Romeo and Juliet' are both represented by quotes.
The design was beginning to take on a triangular form... it could either be redirected into a more conventional rectangular shape or be given the opportunity to go with the flow. This colour print-out, with scribbled notes, shows a few options. Once the decision was made to let the triangle take over, the dripping dagger (another reference to ''Macbeth') was too vertical an image. The thought of including a shrew (as in 'The Taming Of...") was also quickly overturned... then Anne Hathaway came to mind.
(If you click on this thumbnail, you'll notice that the idea of including some music also came at this time)
Anne Hathaway's Cottage, with its' beautiful English country garden has been a popular tourist attraction for ages. A reference to Shakespeare's wife's pretty little cottage, tucked beside the cauldron, would complete the triangle formation. There was just one small restriction... it could only measure about 20 stitches by 30 stitches... otherwise, it would overpower the design.
Once a design is complete, I print out the symbol chart and start stitching... and tinkering. This list represents just a few of the hundreds of little adjustments that get made before the final design is released.
Thank you for taking this little tour with me... I hope you enjoyed the trip.
If you'd like to see how other designs were developed, please visit... Design Storyboards.