As usual with Tricia Nguyen's designs, a lot of the fun is seeing and doing techniques that were used to create the historic pieces. And I find that once I try a particular technique, I'm much more interested in looking at similar details in the historic pieces.
Here I started with the clouds. With their blue outlines and white centers, these aren't very realistic, but I really loved effect anyway (maybe because blue is my favorite color). The outer rows are blue gimp, and the two center sections are gylte silk twist, and everything is just couched down with gold-colored silk.
Next comes the grass, with its typical period striped "shading" created by horizontal bands of three colors of green silk. This is simply stitched loops of soie ovale (which looks like uncut turkey work, but has no knots of any kind) worked over a very "sophisticated" spacing tool -- an opened up paper clip! An option is to take one further step and cut along all the loops, which is what was done historically to create a chenille-like appearance. But given how VERY time consuming this was to stitch. . . and the fact that I'm pretty happy with the look of the loops as is. . . I'm thinking I will probably just leave it.
The last environmental piece is the sparkly sun. Up close this looks kind of messy, but at normal viewing distance it's really pretty. The sun itself is gold strip that is folded back and forth and couched down at the edges. The rays are crinkled gold strip that are couched then outlined with a line of gold twist cord.
Also complete is the preparation for stitching the lion's face. The historical lions use a variety of different techniques for faces. I decided to do a detached buttonhole base instead of a satin stitched base as in Tricia's example. I started with two layers of padding, with detached button hold worked over top of the face area. This is stitched with soie ovale (a filament silk. . . which is beautifully shiny but a real pain to work with).
Next steps? There's a lot of work on the outer medallion and flowers at the corners AND of course, the lion's face and mane. I'm busy cutting and assembling components for the medallion. . . and poring over pictures of historical lions to come up with a game plan for the mane. Hopefully, I'll have more to show in a week or two.