Portrait of Julia in Cross Stitch Tapestry

© Joan Ann Lansberry 2020-2021
It hangs on the right side of the bedroom dresser mirror. (My portrait is on the right side.)

Our portraits side by side....

I had Julia photograph my profile on August 17, 2020. Knowing I'd also want to do a portrait of Julia, I told her to dress up and I photographed her on October 14, 2020.

Of course the basic design elements evolved with my portrait, and then were adapted for Julia's, needing only subtle color shifts for best harmony.

My thoughts about the border design...
I like the diagonal slants because they echo the strong hair diagonal. Some how each 'cube' suggests very abstractly my ancestors. To explain:

The design just sort of popped into my head intuitive style. When I was sewing the first few blocks of the border, it seemed to me the dark triangles kind of echoed my hair. Seeing that, the gold and pink triangles seemed abstract faces. (In ancient Egyptian art, men are depicted with reddish skin and women are depicted with gold skin.) From there, the idea came that they look like a circle of ancestors.

As Julia would be facing me, I flipped the diagonals on her design, so they would also match her hair.

(My apologies if this explanation comes across as an unintelligible or at best hopelessly arcane. I tried to explain as simply as I could, but... here goes:)
The purple background is a 180 degree hue shift (using Photoshop's "Hue/Saturation" tool) of my greenish background, (to be 'opposite, but complimentary'). The maroon garment color is a darkened version of the muted dark pink that happened with the original 180 degree color shift. Maroon is one of Julia's favorite colors (as the deep turquoise is mine), so again, there is the 'opposite, but complimentary' effect going on.

Taking a crop of an earlier process photo, and doing the 180 hue shift,
to see what thread combo I will need to achieve the light purple.

I chose the thread colors marked with "X" for a less 'heathered' result: DMC 28, 30 and 3839

Detail photo to show color blending.
Inner Border: Gold= 834, 472, and 734; Brown=730, 792, and 830; Pink=782, 3340 and 3064
Outer Border:
Brown= 831, 3772, 28; Dark Purple=310 (Black), 796, 902; Tan=(2 of) 452, 371; Light Tan=834, 3865, 543; Purple=792, 815, 04

Earlier progress photo showing border "ingredients":
Gold= 834, 472, and 734; Brown=730, 792, and 830; Pink=782, 3340 and 3064

Close-ups of our charms:

The outer charms are the same:
ankh, feather of Ma'at, round with musical notes......and desert scene, musical treble clef, the other ankh.
From fourth to tenth spot for me, we have:
silver lily, sewing machine, ruler, artist's palette, Tyet, the other lily, tea pot
Julia's tea pot charm is in fourth place, then eight-petaled flower, tyet in fifth spot (rather than eighth spot), tree of life (reflecting her genealogy studies), lily, nine-pointed rosette, and in tenth spot, a Mensa symbol, reflecting her membership.

There's a bit of a mystery involved. I could find only twelve of her thirteen charms. I thought I'd remembered buying thirteen, back in 2020. But I couldn't remember what the thirteenth one was. I positioned the twelve I had and then saw a need for a round floral shape to balance the nine-pointed rosette on the other side. I remembered I'd bought a charm years ago, possibly twenty, twenty five years ago, at some fair, a small flower charm. I'd worn it very rarely, but remembered it as being of a harmonious shape. It's a bit larger than the rosette, but close enough, as I'd not likely find any better online.

So in it went! Julia said it was perfect, as eight pointed flower had always been a shape that intrigued her. So I figured it was meant to be. I bought it then, "for now".

In my written notes ennumerating the charms, I came across what the thirteenth charm had been. I noted a tiny replica of a Greek coin, to represent Julia's interest in ancient coins. Having read that, I do remember receiving such a thing. But it went awol. And maybe it was meant to. I vaguely remember the eight pointed flower has some symbolic meaning, of a spiritual nature, to speak of a spiritual "blooming". Possibly it confers more of a blessing than a more materially minded coin would have.

In any case, it seems perfectly placed.

Joan's Self Portrait Tapestry
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