Ophelia Print + Embroidery

Sunday, January 21, 2024

In a scavenging trip with a friend, I came across this print of Shakespeare’s Ophelia from Hamlet, etched and engraved by Charles Alphonse Deblois in 1874 (after the painting by James Bertrand in 1872). The paper prints I’ve seen online date to before 1900, and it is possible this is one of those but I have no idea. I do know it has some mold and discoloration, and the paper is of very high quality. The print itself – oh my! I bought it because I like the style of art, but I hadn’t studied it until I was up close deciding where to place embroidery threads. Deblois was a master, through and through. I must now see the original some day, if the Philadelphia Museum of Art would ever allow it.

This project served two purposes, and the first was not that it was the end result in itself; that was its second. I have another (modern) print I picked up and was curious how stitching into the paper might work out, so before I ruined that lovely print, I needed one to test the idea on. Ophelia served that purpose. As my love for this print grew, I actually did a pre-test on my Camus + Mucha project, you may recall, because I didn’t want to screw up Ophelia, either.

From a distance, I think it looks like she’s been hand colored or painted in spots, but actually, this is all just straight stitching with embroidery thread. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out! I chose colors based on what I had on hand and what I felt looked right for the floral type, not what the original Bertrand painting had, or what the hand-colored Deblois print used.

It is also almost a trick of the eye, where the 3D effect of the thread and shadows it casts makes the flowers look almost real and the ribbon an actual shiny satin, if in miniature.

When I planned for this project, I had no idea I would fall in love with it so much. I kind of thought the stitching would be obvious, and even tacky, maybe.

Up close, those descriptors might be accurate, but art on the wall is hardly ever viewed up close. The part that does bug me from far away is the mold and discoloration, though. I try to just think about those as reminders to how old the print is, and use them to justify adding my own personal touch onto an outstanding-in-its-own-right piece of art by a true professional.

A part of me wonders if I should have kept going. I think I could have added color to her hair, gown, and even wallpaper. But my original idea was just a hint of color so I’ve stopped here (I also phoned in some outsider opinions). Further, being so enamored with Deblois’s print, I wanted to leave much of that available for viewing. As it was the only Ophelia print available, my idea to experiment more on a second copy fell through. Though threads can always be removed, I would rather err on the side of too little than too much since holes in paper are quite a different beast than a needle ran through fabric.

So that’s it, my Ophelia print with embroidery – a simple project that has since turned into one of my favorites:)

 

See more posts related to:

4 Comments

  1. Jess

    This is gorgeous! I think it is perfect with the minimal embroidery you added. Love love love!!!!

    Reply
  2. Marjorie

    I quite agree with Jess. The amount of embellishment is perfect.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking for more cases of the Crafties?
Hexie Dreams + Template

Hexie Dreams + Template

My Hexie Dreams quilt, which was carefully fussy cut and hand pieced by me, then hand quilted by my gramma, is finally finished after three+ years of work (and avoidance). The proof is in the stitching – persistence pays off!

read more
Stitch Club: Dias

Stitch Club: Dias

Cassandra Dias lead a TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club workshop on embroidered landscapes, and I was inspired to recreate a honeymoon photo of France’s Pont Du Gard.

read more
Hello 2024!

Hello 2024!

For the start of 2024, I’ve been playing with drawing, paint, and watercolor pencils to get a feel for the media.

read more
Ida Andersen Lang’s Tutorial

Ida Andersen Lang’s Tutorial

I followed a water color pencil tutorial by Ida Andersen Lang to work through some techniques to set me up for a successful Mixed Media 2024 journey.

read more
Stitch Club: Boschert

Stitch Club: Boschert

Deborah Boschert lead a TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club on creating a mixed media art quilt. I based mine upon a visit to a new town and restaurant.

read more
Finds and Things

Finds and Things

A random post about some art supplies, vintage finds, and an AI-generated experiment for future crafts.

read more
Stitch Club: Stone 3

Stitch Club: Stone 3

Sue Stone’s third workshop with TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club prompted us to use text in our piece, so I recorded a trip to Shawnee National Forest.

read more
Stitch Club: Stone 2

Stitch Club: Stone 2

Sue Stone led a TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club in her well-known portrait style, and I was inspired to capture a man in a hat in four variations.

read more
Hexie Dreams 19

Hexie Dreams 19

My hand sewn fussy-cut EPP Hexie Dreams quilt is all ready to go to my gramma for hand quilting. Check out a few of my embellished hexies, and come back in the future for the finished product!

read more
My Village Quilt

My Village Quilt

I present to you My Village Quilt, based on the Urban Village Green quilt: a four-year-long project that tipped the love-hate scale finally over to love.

read more
Hexie Dreams 18

Hexie Dreams 18

My fussy-cut EPP Hexie Dreams quilt is coming along. All the flowers were stitched into rows and the rows are being stitched together now for the final push. I also share some of my dear sewing supplies!

read more
Stitch Club: Maue

Stitch Club: Maue

TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club with Joetta Maue prompted a stitched piece from a photograph and I’ve recreated an adored image of my late grandparents.

read more
Hexie Dreams 17

Hexie Dreams 17

A quick update on my fussy-cut EPP hexie dreams quilt. A whopping 131 flowers are now complete, yay!

read more
Stitch Club: Weighton 2.1

Stitch Club: Weighton 2.1

Haf Weighton lead another TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club workshop on architectural layering, and I was inspired to render New Albany’s Culbertson Mansion based on a photograph by Daniel Andis.

read more
Stitch Club: Sproule

Stitch Club: Sproule

April Sproule led a TextileArtist.org’s Stitch Club using a spiral concept. I felt like this would be a nice project for a friend and asked her for a color palette, hence the unusual-for-me color theme.

read more