Welcome to New Medieval Art!

Hello, my name is Julie. I have created this blog to share with others about the artisans I have found who design their art from historic images. Those images that inspire me the most are from the Medieval and Renaissance periods, but I also find Ancient and Modern images inspiring as well. For this blog, I will be sharing those artworks based on medieval art. On some occaisions, depending on the art, I will share artwork based on other periods in history.

I am a fiber artist and use digital images to create my own patterns for embroidery, and apply laid work, an ancient embroidery process, over the copied digital images applied to fiber. To understand the full story of my process, I present to many conferences and groups, and published a few articles, to help others obtain this delightful pasttime.

Announcing my new articles!

Hello all. I am happy to announce two new articles that have been published recently, May, 2021. I have them cited below, one is open access, and the other one I have uploaded a pre-print copy. Both articles give more detail to my approach to creating patterns for embroidery based on digital images from historical art work.

Carmen, Julie. 2021. “Makerspaces: Combining Information Literacy with Pattern Design for Fiber Art through Digital Images”. Library Trends 69 (3), Winter, 2021.  Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Carmen, Julie. 2021. “Using Digital Images for STEAM Education and Discovery Through Fiber Art”. VRA Bulletin 48 (1), Spring/Summer, 2021. https://online.vraweb.org/index.php/vrab/article/view/203/211

A book I have been looking for…

While researching an article on the medieval guitar I came across this book “Music In Ancient Arabia And Spain: Being La Musica De Las Cantigas ” by Julian Ribera and wanted to add it to my private library. This was in 1998, and alas, it was out of print. It seemed I looked for this book for many years and eventually gave up. I recently remembered and searched again and found it has been re-printed and is very available on Amazon.com! Celebration!

Update for New Medieval Art

Hello out there in the World Wide Web! The embroidery patches are coming along, and I hope to be adding new images of my latest ones soon. I am also working on the medieval screen but need to move it back to my home so that I actually do more work on it. Please do ask questions here if you have any.
Thank you for following this blog, and share here of other new medieval art you might have come across.


Categorized as Art

The Digital Researcher

I think of different people and how they find their information.  In the library world we refer to those who don’t use the Internet for research or don’t have access to the Internet as the Digital Divide.  Why don’t they have access?  It could be that they live in areas that don’t have anything built to allow the signals to reach the digital world, or because they have not learned how to use a computer, or because they haven’t found a financial way to get the technology into their homes.

Then there are those who have access to the Internet and use it, but only go to Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, etc… and read only what they access there; I call them Digital Comfortable. The scary thing here is that not everything found on the Internet can be called factual, true, the highest research available.  So as people practice using the Internet, they are going to the web sites that are easy to find and what their friends & family are using at the time.  Sometimes it’s the newest, hippest web site out there, which usually has a lot of advertisements and pop-ups. Fun to read and surf through, but for good, accurate information, not the best.

Usually, by using a library’s catalog, and asking assistance from a reference library, there is a better way to sort the sources to verify their authenticity and solid foundation as being a good resource of information. These folks I call Digital Savvy, because they know how to access the rich data through libraries through their library card. They understand that when they access their libraries’ many databases they are given the keys to an even wider, educational world.

The libraries pay for subscriptions to those hundreds of databases, with the funding they get through taxes, foundation, or non-profit sources.  Each database could represent a professional journal on many topics; health, psychology, engineering, computer science, history, English literature, and so on. Many categories of information at your fingertips! With a healthy society, people should have access to the best information, keeping them updated to what is really going on in the world, the new discoveries, and how to learn in today’s job market and so on.  The use of the libraries will cost you very little tax, and will require your time to access and study the information which is available to you. It is your choice if you use your local libraries or not, but there is good evidence that shows that those who use their libraries save money and enrich their lives.  How do they save money?  It can be that they don’t need to buy professional subscriptions to professional journals, or books (unless they want to). Often, what they need in their educational and research process can be provided by their local libraries and research libraries. It’s a good idea to find out if your library can get you the information you need instead of spending your money when you don’t have to.

Then there are those who research with Primary Sources.  Primary Sources are the creations of information during an event or time in history; the eye-witness account of the event written in diaries, journals, scrape-books, photo-albums, and first edition books. Sometimes these sources are available by the Internet because someone, usually an archive, library, or museum has digitized them.  In order to make them available to us on the Internet, they have to do the due diligence to find the copyright holder and request they give permission to digitize, unless the item is in the Public Domain.  Once they have the written permission to digitize the photos, or written materials, then they create the Metadata to add it to a digital repository. Once the digital items have been added to a digital repository, it is findable and accessible on the Internet.

But that’s not all, once any organization (archive, library, museum) has created the digital object, that object must be maintained and supported in the digital world.  This means that it’s never really free, but needs to be protected when software upgrades happen, when system software changes (Windows 7 to Windows 8, etc…) and hopefully supported to be available for years to come.  It is usually the mission for most archives, libraries, and museums, to preserve and make accessible the items in their collections, which is why they will always need financial backing to keep their doors open.

But most Primary Sources are not digitized, so then what do you do?  It is usual practice that these rare and special collections are accessible in your community.  Depending on the collection, you can simply stop by and ask.  Or perhaps you may need to schedule time to visit the buildings of these archives, libraries, and museums.  Once you have scheduled your time to visit, you can read personal papers, research notes, original articles, photos, etc… to find out information that was either forgotten, or was the building blocks for the information we use today.  Those who go through these steps I call Brilliant Researchers, because they have gone the extra mile to find information that not just everyone has thought about accessing.  Can you imagine, reading documents that have not been read for hundreds of years?  Perhaps someone in history got a notion wrong, and you have the proof in your hands because you took the time to see the paper archives yourself.

The truth is that there are millions of documents that will not be found on the Internet via web sites or databases for many years to come.  Why should they?  How can we as a society pay to have all of the world’s written information digitized, when we are already creating many times over new information daily? It is up to those persons who have found a topic to research on, and feel the need to look back in time, to follow up on what the specialists have said and are saying in today’s world.  Once a document or image is evident of its importance to understanding our world better, funds can be found to make it available in the digital world.

I am quite enthralled with what has been forgotten that could shed light on today.  Are you? If so, check out any special collection in your area and become amazed!

Categorized as Art

New Medieval Manuscripts links added


Please check out the two links I have added that have digitized medieval manuscripts on them.  I believe one site is new; Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts, and one has been around for a while: The Digital Scriptorium. They are both fantastic sources, and what is nice, is that there is documentation of where to find these manuscripts.  Again, please share any time you have visited a special collection and seen a medieval manuscript.  What were your thoughts?  What did you see? What impressed you most?

I am still looking for other artists to share their work on this blog.  If you know any artists that have created new work from medieval manuscripts, please send my blog to them in the chance that they might want to talk about their work here.


Categorized as Art

More about stitches in Cantigas patches

Hi all,

For those of you that are curious, you may notice that the faces and hands of the people in the patches are not rippled, as with the Laid stitch.  That is because I use the Split stitch to create more realistic-looking faces and hands. I did try a couple of stitches with Laid stitch on the faces, and found them to look distorted. I also learned that in order for the faces and hands to look better, I had to go to one strand or two, not the typical 3 strands that I use throughout the rest of the patch.  Anything that needs great detail requires less strands.  I also use the Stem stitch to outline the images, and to help me give the picture more structure before I fill in the areas with color.  Many of the images I have ironed on have come out smeared or not clear, so outlining the entire picture first, has helped me keep the picture more true.  I don’t like to waste material or transfer paper, or ink, so when a picture isn’t as clear as I’d like it, I outline it to see if I can still use it, before I trash it and start over.

Please ask questions and send me ideas of other art mediums to talk about.  On this blog, I welcome you to teach others what you know and what you love in the medieval art/history realm.


Categorized as Art

Choice of colors in Laid Work

Hello blog friends,

I thought I might want to explain how I came about using the colors that I do in the embroidery patches.  First of all, many of the first images I saw of the Cantigas miniatures were in black and white.  Later, I found some pictures that looked as if the background colors were pink or light blue.  As more authors researching this manuscript actually traveled to Spain and purchased recent photos of the images, I could begin to understand that the pink was actually faded red, and that most of the blue backgrounds were a darker blue.  No matter, my project had begun and I have chosen a bright pink back ground for the paled red images, and a light blue background for the blue ones.  It works out nice as with a lighter background the bolder colors stand out quite well.  I have further ventured to add more color in the images, as it seems that the majority of the images in the Cantigas miniatures were mainly red and blue, with some black and white.  I decided that if the artists back then had a multitude of colors to choose from, such as I do today, they would have used them.  Thus, I use a splendid variety of colors that often do not mimic the absolute color truth from the originals. 

Please comment if you are compelled to.

Happy New Year!


Categorized as Art
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