Greetings again, Gentle Readers of The Maine Thing! We have reached the third and final installment of an exhilarating three-part interview with the legendary Lord Wellbourne. This interview is being conducted within the princely environs of his magnificent studio.
FAQ--Good evening, Lord Wellbourne!
FAQ--Before we begin, I must say you're very interestingly dressed.
SVR--Oh? Do you think so?
FAQ--Yes, indeed. What is all that?
SVR--A quilted and embroidered jewel-tone Tibetan jacket over a hand-woven Mongolian tunic.
FAQ--And the trousers?
SVR--Black-on-black embroidered silk harem pants.
FAQ--And your topper?
SVR--A heavily embroidered and beaded silk velvet fez--without tassel.
FAQ--Why not a tassel?
FAQ--Do you often dress like this?
FAQ--Only at home? Or--
SVR--At home, out to the mailbox, grocery shopping etc...Causes quite a sensation at WalMart I've noticed.
SVR--Now, if you've done with my accoutrements, I believe you have some questions for me?
FAQ--Oh, yes, to be sure.
SVR--Excellent. Carry on.
FAQ--When we concluded yesterday I had asked how you came to hand-crafting as a career choice.
SVR--Ah, yes, I remember. I thought it an odd question.
SVR--My dear fellow, almost everything we do as individuals is an exercise in hand-crafting. Preparing a meal, composing a letter, playing an instrument, building a house, gardening etc... We use tools to be sure but our hands, in partnership with our ideas, do the crafting.
FAQ--Where did it start with you, personally?
SVR--I imagine very shortly after I was cognizant of having 'hands'.
SVR--Oh! I see what you were asking! Right. Well, I had just turned five when I came down with measles. A week later I came down with chicken pox. Very nasty combination. At one point I began experiencing chest pain. I was taken to the military hospital and X-rays revealed I had a congenital heart defect. A slightly twisted aorta. Scared the bejesus out of my parents.
FAQ--To be sure!
SVR--Well, after I was stabilized and back at home, a long and arduous regimen of medication and bed-rest began. It was sheer misery--for everyone. I had it the easiest. All I had to do was lay there. Boredom was my nemesis. My mother is a superior needle woman. Knitting, crochet, embroidery, needle point etc...She was in her petit point phase at that time and she would come into my room every afternoon with her frame and canvas and spend hours sitting on the foot of my bed to keep me company. The rhythmic movement of her needle was very soothing to me. The developing picture intrigued me. And the fact she could do such precision work while engaging in the give and take of conversation inspired me. At one point I asked if I might try to do what she was doing. She brought me a piece of canvas and a frame and she drew out some lines for me to work on. She sat there beside me and talked me through it so patiently and gently. By the time my convalescence was over, I was nearly as proficient as she was.
FAQ--And how long was that?
SVR--A little over seven months.
FAQ--Good heavens! You did petit point in bed for seven months?
SVR--I did all kinds of needle work. My mother also utilized the time to teach me how to read and write. She brought me water colours and art paper. My days were filled with needle work, literature, and art. It was a difficult time for everyone but it was also a happy constructive time. I was an excellent patient.
FAQ--So what could have been a catastrophe was actually a blessing of sorts.
SVR--Exactly, well put. Today, as I work with my needle, I have the same soothing calmness wash over me. Whenever I stop to look at the embeadered design developing I think of my petit point days and relive the wonder.
FAQ--Yes. That's what I call what I do. I embroider with beads. Embeader. I like the colour and light play as well as the texture the beads give the fabric.
FAQ--I see. Your work is amazing, beautiful.
SVR--Thank you. I admit after I've completed a somewhat involved piece I am in awe. Not of my handiwork but that I actually pulled it off. I tend to underestimate my abilities.
FAQ--And you do this on....
SVR--Table and bed linens, clothing and accessories. Lately though I've been going back to straight hand-sewing.
SVR--Returning to Maine triggered my 'back-to-basics' gene. I decided to do more practical applications. So, I've been making domestic items--hot pads, pot-holders, coasters, etc... out of salvaged brocade and tapestry remnants.
FAQ--All sewn by hand?
SVR--Yes. I don't particularly care for machines. I am not technologically inclined. I prefer the tactile experience of holding the needle and controlling the tension of the thread myself.
FAQ--Admirable. You are still 'embeadering' though.
SVR--Oh yes--I am nearing completion on a commission for a devotee of the Texas Renaissance Festival. A Tudor Court dress. Very heavy--especially now that I'm adding hundreds of pearls, glass beads, and vintage rhinestones. Twelve yards of fabric and a very complex pattern keeps me quite busy. The straight sewing is my 'unwind' therapy. Keeps me from burning out.
FAQ--Who are your inspirations?
SVR--I'm so glad you asked me that! Well, besides every embellisher in history, there is, of course, my mother to be sure. I must also mention one or two outstanding individuals. Firstly, my good friend, Lady Hawthorne of Canterbury Cottage. Phenomenal crafts woman. An impresario in all manner of needlework and very adept in many other mediums. Then of course there is my dear Red--a graphic designer and conceptual artist of stellar talent. She also makes an incomparable gumbo. And I rather think that Von at The Good Life is an inspiration--what with her painting ability, textile savvy, and gusto for all things Green.
SVR--I would be unforgivably remiss if I didn't include June at Aging Gratefully. I have become inexplicably attached to her. Her ability to paint vibrantly moving canvases with words enthralls me. She has a semantic savoir-faire and textual finesse that is sadly lacking today.
FAQ--Are you still involved with your other artistic interests?
SVR--Oh, yes, quite. I still write, paint, and create jewelry as you can see by looking about you.
FAQ--These are magical rooms.
SVR--Life and art are magical pursuits. They each require a sacred space.
FAQ--Lord Wellbourne, it has been an enormous privilege to speak with you! I still have a number of things I'd like to ask. Would you consider allowing me another day to wrap this up with an epilogue? I'm sure your fans would greatly appreciate it!
SVR--Well, I hate to disappoint people. Very well. Come again tomorrow. But not too early!!
FAQ--You are too kind, sir. Thank you!
There you are, Gentle Readers, Lord Wellbourne has graciously given of himself yet again so as not to disappoint his loyal following. His generosity and selflessness continue to astound all who come into his presence. Until tomorrow, this is a very humbled Iam Nosy signing off.