I do not create or work with patterns. If you're looking for instructional books try the ones written for Ganutel or
Klosterarbeiten. As far as I know there are no Klosterarbeiten books in English and the only one I've seen in German was devoted
to metal thread work but the pictures were easy enough to follow and the techniques are simular. The basics of Ganutel will
give you directions for the first flower's petals.
There are three things required in the construction of these flowers: thread, wire, and vellum.
Thread: Most of the articles I've read say that silk was used in the original shrines so that is what I'm using. I like
Kreinik's Soie d'Alger. It is very much like cotton embroidery floss (which I've also used and I don't notice a difference).
I don't like rayon and the silkier silks - they are to shiny and they tend to slide around making them more difficult to work
with. I also don't like the heavier two-ply silks as they are to heavy looking for such small flowers. I seperate the silk
floss and use a single strand at a time so I would think that using actual thread would work too but I haven't tried that.
Harline mentions the use of linen (his work concentrates on post 1600 sources) and Appuhn mentions that one of the relics
was wrapped in a fabric that was 'light blue silk on a finer blue wool'. No other fibers were named - most refer to the thread
only as 'silk'.
Colors named by Appuhn are: red, pink, beige, blue, green, gray-black, light green, yellow, brown, yellow-blue and pink-silver.
Some of the relic packets were dated as 13th century Spain, 2nd half 14th century, 15th century Spain, and 15th century Italy.
(Relic packets were on the Paradise Gardens in Ebstorf - the flowers were made in Mecheln and the whole of the cushions were
assembled in Ebstorf in 1480. The packet coverings imply that the relics were collected from many places and were of different
Wire: pre-made bullion can only get you so far - eventally you're going to end up coiling your own wire into bullion
just to get it small enough. You'll need a selection of all the smaller wires - I've used everything between 18
gauge and 34 gauge. Somewhere I have a breakdown of wire metal content from medieval artifacts but I'm going to spare you
to details and just say: I have found no noticable difference in how the metal content affects the workability of the wire.
Seriously. I don't have any information on what was in the shrines so I've been going off of what I know of medieval metals
and what it looks like it could be from the photos I have.
Vellum: I don't know exactly what animal hide was used in the original shrines. I do know that I've tried a number of
things, from paper and veggie parchment to leather scraps. The best stuff is like a paper weight suede. The nice thing is
that if you get it wet you can stick a needle through it without any problem and it is less likely to break than paper. The
silk doesn't slide to much and it has flexability. Even better - the pieces you need are tiny - generally I can get two petals
out of a piece the size of my pinky finger. Find a scribe who has scraps - the little pieces they will never use. And as a
bonus - it doesn't matter if the piece isn't any good for scribing on or is oily or smudged or warped. You're going to cover
the whole thing in silk so noone is going to see it (and cutting it into tiny pieces helps too.)
The vellum petals I cut in one very long piece - like a very smushed "m". I lay a wire agienst it to keep it stiff and
wrap - when it's all wrapped, I fold it in half and twist the two wire ends together to form the stem. To start the silk I've
run a needle though one of the very tips of the vellum and tied off the thread - it works easier if you get the vellum damp
first (I just stuck the tip in my mouth) so it is more fexible. I tried using two seperate pieces of vellum but it didn't
work as well (sliding) as using one piece that was barly joined in the middle. The one-piece method produces the same visual
result as I see in the pictures of the shrines. Appuhn talks about the 'slits' down the middle of the petals which also leads
me to believe they were made in one piece. Appuhn also mentions parchment, as does Triest, but I can't rule out a translation
error (as none of the authors actually give a name for the animal the paper is derived from). I have used several different
types (vellum, parchment, etc.) and they are pretty much the same. Thickness seems to be the biggest factor, something like
smoothness is of little importance, a good nap makes things easier.
Of the shrines I have evidence of the breakdown is:
For Time Period = Prior to 1500 = 4, 1500 = 2, 1491-1510 = 1, 1510 = 3, 1st qtr 1500 = 5, 1st half 1500 =
1, 16th century = 1 for a total of 17.
For Location = Mechelen = 9, Brabant = 2, Sint-Lenaarts = 1, Walsrode = 2, Rheine (Kloster Bentlage)
= 1, Kalkar = 1, Erstorf = 1 for a total of 17.