Thursday, 28 February 2008

Lewis chessmen

I got back last week from a very enjoyable holiday in London where I spent a good bit of my time in the British Museum. We went primarily to see the exhibition "The first emperor" with the Chinese terracotta warriors. It was fascinating and well worth the visit.

I also took the time to visit an old favourite of mine - the museum's display of the Lewis Chessmen. This is a collection of chess pieces believed to be 12th Norse that were found on the Isle of Lewis in the early part of the 19th century. I spent a lot of time in the museum photographing and drawing some of the pieces.

A number of years ago I made a chess set with an embroidered Harris Tweed "board" and solid hand-made felt pieces. A glimpse of this set can be seen on my website. Now I want to try and make a similar sort of thing, but having both board and pieces based on the Lewis Chessmen. Many people have made reproductions of these wonderful characters, but I have never heard of a textile version. There are several technical problems that I have to sort out, to say nothing of finalising the designs, so it could be a long-term project. In the meantime, if you would like an embroidered Harris Tweed chessboard with 4cm squares and hand-made felt drafts pieces let me know - cost is £65 and for this you get something that is decorative and unique. Or if you are a serious collector, you might like to purchase my big chess set at £800. Let me know and I will send photographs.

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