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A Gilded Chain is Still a Chain

by Nicole Grosjean

This piece was inspired by the medieval Unicorn Tapestries, one of my favorite collections as I’ve always loved unicorns. In the final panel of the tapestry, the unicorn is chained in a small enclosure under a pomegranate tree that is dripping red fruit seeds onto him. He is meant to look content with his situation after being hunted, defeated, and placed in captivity. I really wanted my escaped unicorn to show her anger after freeing herself from such a horrible situation. She is free and will never be captured again!

In preparation for making this piece I really dove into the books and research that have been written about these tapestries. I learned so much more about them and tried to incorporate some of that research into my artwork. Most of the trees and plants in the tapestries have been identified, so I picked particular ones that really fit the direction I wanted to take this piece. Though there are many different meanings and symbolisms for flowers, I chose ones that I felt fit the artwork best. Daisy- innocence, Forget Me Not- remembrance, Strawberry- perfection, Bluebell- faerie magic, Daffodil- self love, Thistle- misanthropy, and Pomegranate- foolishness.

This piece was constructed from laser cut layers of bookcloth, embroidered with real gold, silver, and silk threads, vintage sequins, new and vintage glass seed beads, and gilded in 24K gold and silver leaf. The unicorn was painted in watercolor and gouache on silk fabric paper. She comes framed in a wide wooden shadowbox frame and protected with museum glass. She is definitely a special piece and looking for a special home!

Product Height: 15"
Product Width: 12.5"
Product Depth: 1.5"

$2,500 $2,500

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Nicole Grosjean graduated with a BFA in illustration from the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in Denver, Colorado in 2008. She combines her passions for fantasy and craftsmanship into unique, multi-layered works of art. To her, there is nothing more valuable than an object an artist has created with their own hands. She endeavors to build pieces that are not only illustrations, but wonderfully complex environments in their own right. Nicole is constantly trying new techniques and pushing the boundaries of materials and mediums to bring her visions to life.

Her sculptural illustrations are patterned from detailed drawings, hand-cut, and then layered to create various depths depending on the size of the piece. The layers are then painted in watercolor and gouache, and are often back lit with LED lights.