Christmas card 2013: Madonna and Child

Madonna and Child (2013 Christmas card: hand embroidered and appliquéd by Mary Addison)

Madonna and Child (2013 Christmas card: hand embroidered and appliquéd by Mary Addison)

The Christmas cards I most enjoy receiving are those that people have made themselves. When the children were little, I felt we should make our own too and I realised if this were to become reality, we’d need to start at about the beginning of November. At about that time I’d duly stock up with lino or stencil card, lots of gold spray paint and quantities of coloured paper. I generally found that once I got going a one or two children would appear attracted by the mess and be happy to join in the production line. Sometimes the November date slipped and in those cases it was a dash to the National Gallery or the Ashmolean. Last year, the slippage was so bad that just local cards got sent and I then had to spend most of January writing letters of apology for not sending Christmas cards! Exhausting.

Madonna and Child by Sano di Peitro, a Siennese painter

Madonna and Child by Sano di Peitro, a Siennese painter

Earlier this year I was reading Nancy Nicholson’s delightful blog and came upon this entry for 6 October which had a charming fabric picture of a Madonna and Child made by Nancy’s mother, Joan. Tucked away in the back of my mind, I didn’t think about it again until a couple of weeks ago when thoughts rather wearily began to turn to gold spray, crisp thick card and lino. Then Nancy’s mother’s Madonna wriggled to the front of my head and I knew immediately I had to have a go at a fabric picture myself. Thanks to the internet I had a glorious array of images to inspire me. I chose the above painting by a Sienese artist because I was taken with the child, who manages to look both wise beyond his years but also touchingly childlike as he snuggles his cheek up against his mother’s. Believing myself to be moderately familiar with Sienese painters, I’ve never encountered Sano di Piero before – except I must have because the Ashmolean has another Madonna and Child of his and Christ Church Picture Gallery has several paintings – so, that just shows how unobservant I am.

I would have liked to put more detail on the rather bland faces – especially of the Madonna – but I thought I’d better leave it this year before I spoilt it and ended up having to start all over again. It has quite whetted my appetite for fabric faces but I think I’ll have to do a bit more practising to get facial detail better.

Now I’ve handed over production of the card to the vicar to add to his printing of several hundred sheets for the carol service programmes…I think I’d better offer to do the stapling for him – at the very least. Then I must remember to actually write the cards. It’s so easy to think that once the cards are made, that’s it. Next year, I really will begin in November… 

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  1. Bev S.
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely card and a beautiful Mary with our Lord.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Bev. I’m glad you like it.

  2. Posted December 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful. Very icon-like. I especially like the way you made the halos glow, and the fabric you picked for Mary.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      The halo fabric is lovely – a shot silk with a light butter-coloured thread one way and a darker, more honeyed colour the other way. (The flesh silk was white silk satin dipped in coffee – tea just wasn’t strong enough! I did wash it well after dipping it in coffee.) Thank you for such a lovely comment.

  3. Jean Smith
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the link, Mary. It’s fascinating and inspiring to learn how you’ve produced such a stunning card. You’ve inspired me to get going ready for next Christmas!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted December 24, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Glad the link worked Jean. Today there’s so much to be inspired by on websites and blogs – and all at our fingertips – very exciting.

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  • By Madonna and Child - Addison Embroidery at the Vicarage on December 30, 2015 at 12:02 am

    […] I hope you’ll forgive me if I leave you with my Christmas card of 2 years ago  until I get more organised and find the time to get on with a number of half finished […]

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