Back to the Horizon

19 May 2013

Do you remember the Horizon?

I told you all about it here.

These designs got some very supportive comments, but despite considerable effort on my part I could not fine anyone who could scan the size that I had created (foolscap X 2).

So, I've given up!

Not with Horizon altogether - no, just with this technique (I was going to scan it and have it digitally printed onto fabric).

I have been working on Horizons re-worked.

And here we are so far.

Now, as you can see, the scale has changed. I'm not sure if it quite works but it is 1.5m X 0.5m.

And this is tissue paper 'backed' onto calico with pva glue and coloured with brusho inks.

The bottom section is printed.

This is using acrylic paint and a trusty print block (made with foam sheet glued onto card) which I have used time and again.  Plus a new print block with which I added gold ink (made with the same foam sheet).

The front arches are cut from this.

This is inked rag paper, scrunched and ironed to 'age' it and then rubbed with a brown ink pad.

And I'm playing with the following text:-

Madinat Al-Zahra - The "Shining City"

Abd ar-Rhaman III surveyed the rich, fertile land of the Guadalquivir valley.  He had just left the Great Mosque founded by his ancestor, Abd ar-Rahman I, having given thanks to God for blessing him and his subjects with this land and what they had achieved here.  Here, they had founded the Mosque, which he was even now extending further, they had established the University - a seat of great learning - and built beautiful houses and palaces with shady patios against the summer heat.Even so, he was not satisfied.  This is a great city, he thought, and it suited my ancestors well as Emirs of al-Andalus but now I have made myself Caliph of all Islam I need something finer still.  As he gazed across the valley, his eyes strayed to the hills opposite. There would be the place, in the foothills, protected from the north by the hills and giving fine views over the river and valley back towards C√≥rdoba, which would give an early warning of any enemy attack.

 Now, I did consider trying to translate this into Arabic.

But I used Google Translate, and frankly I am not sure how accurate it it, especially as it could not deal with Ar - Rhaman.  And I am not certain that that 1000 years ago the Moors of al- Andalus were using modern day Arabic.  So, lovely as it looks, I knocked that on the head and decided to use English.

Then, how to transfer the words?

I painted them onto sheer fabric.  It took all afternoon - a very relaxing past time, but very time consuming. 

I'm not sure how successful this will be, so come back soon to see how this develops. 


  1. I'm fascinated by your process Hilary! I think the vertical construction works wonderfully (I know we're restricted to that format but your original plan has translated perfectly). You must be very patient to write all that text. Wow! Can't wait to see it at FOQ.

    1. Thanks for your supportive comments. I'm not sure about the vertical construction or,indeed, how the words will work out.

      Been distracted with book wraps tonight but will get back to this soon.

  2. that is dedication for sure. Looks good in the new orientation & I love that gold ink! Just been catching up with your recent posts, fascinating reading about the Bayeux tapestry, I must have visited 30 yrs ago, before I knew the word textile!

    1. The gold ink is Antique Gold by Windsor and Newton. It is very rich in pigment and I love it, though it is not cheap! I'm trying to capture some of the richness of the original palace. Al-Andalus was at it's height during what we know as the 'Dark Ages' and it was a sophisticated and wealthy civilisation. The gold is representative of that.

      It was my first visit to Bayeux. An incredible 'document'.

  3. That must have been a labour of love, I'm intrigued to see how you are building this piece of work up.

    1. Well, it took some time, but good radio made it much easier.

      These pieces take ages to construct. Do you think everyone takes as much time as I do? And I haven't even begun the quilting yet!!

  4. You are an inspiration,always working. I too love horizons and have used them in a lot the past,an easy subject to do at any time (for sketchbook work) full of shapes and colour, so beautiful when they are enlarged or made smaller, turned around, patchworked, etc, you put me to shame.Have a great day.Jx


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