This is a piece I did in the second year of my Diploma when we studied 3D objects. We had to end up with a container. I can't remember if it had to have something in it or not, but mine did. I chose to do a reliquary because they have always fascinated me and I love the application of textile arts to religious symbolism.
After a bit of researching I quickly came up with the idea of Santiago de Compostela and the pilgramages undertaken to the Cathedral there, known in English as the Way of St James. I had lots of fun playing with various surface and design finishes until I came up with the one I finally chose, which was fine white silk randomly splashed with silk paint in warm colours of red, pink, yellow and orange. It was lined with red silky stuff. I also embroidered it in random patches of running stitch using similar colours, but not on painted patches of the same colour. I became very fond of that technique of patches of running stitch and it became one of the main embellishments I use in my Mazey Patchwork. Gold paint and gold thread was also used, because I wanted an opulent feel in keeping with the idea of a medieival reliquary.
I had intended using stiffish interfacing in it but my teacher at the time got all huffy about using a synthetic interfacing and told me to use calico. I did trial calico and it seemed to work but I regret not using the original idea as it never did stand as stiff and straight as I wanted. She and I were a bit mixture, big personality clash and completely different interests and values. She taught me for two subjects that year and told me that she was only passing me in one of them (not the one we did this project in, she couldn't very well fail me in that because my final project was as good as anyone else's!) because she didn't want to do the paperwork involved in failing me. Miserable woman. She didn't work there again after that year.
A reliquary obviously has to hold a relic. I used gold Delicas to bead a tiny vial using peyote stitch, including a tiny beaded lid which was attached by a couple of beads and fastened with a beaded loop, and it contained the arm of Saint ... I can't actually remember the name I made up but I created a wholly fictional saint, with a back story and everything! The arm came from a nasty little plastic doll from the $2 shop that I hacked off and stained with paint the colour of dried blood. I think I may have included a hand as well.
The 'lid' comes from the tops of the panels, six I think there were, triangular in shape, with threads tieing them together and a shell shaped gold button to hold it altogether (the shell being the symbol of St James of Compostela).
I chose this particular picture for this post because I like to think of it as a rather arty-farty photo, but I do have more process-oriented photos that I can post if anyone is interested in the more practical side of it. It was a fun thing to make and I am still proud of it!