Week 2: Spangles

My husband was the one who suggested this word for week two because he has always loved it. I think he loved it because there was a brand of candy called Spangles in the UK when he was growing up. We never got them over here but they look like Life Savers candy except they are square.

I discovered what spangles originally were when I bought the first volume in Gail Marsh’s excellent overview of the history of embroidery. You can read about it here.

Today we call them sequins, but back in the 18th century they called them spangles. If they were larger they were called paillettes.

In searching for a suitable visual reference for this, I found an image online of a reticule with a patch of embroidery that I used to paint a pretend needlecase with spangles. I used watercolour in raw umber to paint the spangles and get a rather antique, oxidized look and then I applied a thin wash of Winsor and Newton Iridescent Medium over that to add some sparkle.


The quote is one I kept thinking about in Gail’s book. I hadn’t intended to use a quote but it was so perfect for imagining a room full of spangles shimmering under candlelit chandeliers.

I was looking through clip art books for a drop cap to copy but then I decided to just draw one up myself. That is after all what this year-long project is about, having confidence in my own work.

My needle point is a bit bent in the drawing—my husband said “But look at all the work it did!” which made me laugh as my needles often bend when I’ve used them for a while. I thought it was a mistake, but it’s simply a reflection of reality (cough.)

The materials I used:

Staedtler 2H pencil
Faber-Castell Polychromos coloured pencils
Van Gogh watercolours
Staedtler Karat Aquarelle watercolour pencils
Sepia Faber-Castell Pitt pen
Black Micron pen (for signing)


This entry was posted in Sketch 52 for 2015 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Week 2: Spangles

  1. Roseanne Dix says:

    Outstanding work as usual. Meticulous and beautiful.


  2. Beverly King says:

    This is LOVELY. I had no idea what spangles were until I did a search. Interesting that it was okay to be sparkly in mourning as long as the sequins were dark grey or black. 🙂 I ended up doing a child’s magic wand; it gave me fits trying to do the sequins, lol.


    • I wondered about using spangles on mourning clothes at all. Perhaps they were a matte finish so they didn’t sparkle. She refers to “darkened steel” so maybe it was a matte finish?

      I liked your wand, it really looked like spangles. That’s two down, I haven’t drawn this much in months, so the exercise is working.


  3. chloetarot says:

    Wow, that’s beautiful! I love the sparkly effect, which you get a hint of even in the scan 🙂 And I love your husband’s take on the bent needle 😉


  4. raggedpoet says:

    Love the quote… and I remember Spangles too!!


  5. tarottiferet says:

    This is fabulous. I really love your art style. It carries through in everything you do. So elegant but with an edge to it.


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