Thursday, 23 July 2015

Embroidered Adventures

Treasures can be found anywhere, even in an old chocolate box, and this is where my embroidered adventures began.
From an early age I have appreciated embroidery in all its forms. I remember my Grandma and Mum creating beautiful pieces, which were so intricate and perfect. I liked the colours, the textures and the old chocolate boxes filled with embroidery silks and needles. My Grandma embroidered table cloths and sofa arm covers, napkins and doilies, and I loved them for their homeliness and charm. I can remember my mum embroidering pansies in satin stitch, so that they looked almost real; the silky flowers that were so satisfying to stroke. I knew that this was a skill I wanted for myself so I started with samplers. Samplers are a good start for a child and my first one was framed at some point and hung in our hallway. I still have that first bit of embroidery, but now it hides underneath the stairs behind a wooden box tucked out of sight. Samplers knocked the life out of embroidery for me, and it wasn't until I had the embroidery itch in my mid thirties that I decided to ditch kits and just embroider free-style. I started embroidering doodles, and then anything I could think of. First drawing out a design on paper, then tracing that onto fabric using carbon paper, and embroidering free-style. This way of working has kept me interested in embroidery, and the thrill of choosing colours and stitches has never gone away. I now keep all my threads in my Grandma's old chocolate box. I am gradually working my way through her threads and adding to them as I go. Sometimes I pick up a skein and I see that there is a prepared thread of three strands already knotted at the end. My Grandma had obviously prepared this ready for one of her projects, so when I use it in one of my pieces I feel like she's involved and helping me out. A lovely present from her even though she's been gone for five years. It was this magical box of threads that inspired my latest embroidery project – embroidered story pages.

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