Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thetford Masonic Banner

Ages and ages ago our very wonderful friend Harold Lock asked me if I'd be interested in having a look at a banner they had at their Masonic Lodge. It was the centenary of it's consecration in 1909 and they needed a new one. Did I know anyone who could do the job?
Here's a picture of it. Faded and cracked but still a fine example of the Victorian banner maker's craft.Would I be interested in trying to replicate it? I was.
At the time I thought it should be no problem at all. I thought I'd embroider the gold lettering to save me having to learn how to use gold leaf on fabric ......A million miles down the track I discovered that it was a much harder brief than I had expected. First I had to find the material for the ground, which took forever and lead me through a range of very expensive silk manufacturers. I finally ended up finding exactly the right fabric at a sale in North Norfolk. I had to trace the original onto transparent plastic, then trace again over that before putting it onto the fabric.
Without moving it an inch...
Next I had to find the gold embroidery thread. NO GO. Embroidery threads come in yellow or beige or taupe. Nothing like the gold I needed. I decided I would try to find some gold paint instead. I had success here again in Norfolk at the Norwich Art supplies shop where I found the perfect gold powder that became a fabric paint when you mixed it with a particular medium. So far so good.....
Every morning I'd wake up thrilled to be working on such an auspicious piece. I honestly loved every minute working on it.
So after much joy & a small amount of anxiety I finally finished it. Such great symbolism, with the all seeing eye, the sun and the moon, the Mason's square and compass. It was great to see something so old and faded come back to life again .