Golden Wattle & Coastal Banksia by Julie Kniedl
27th September 2019
How do you make a tiny, delicate yellow puffball flower with embroidery thread? Or the contrasting textures on a seed pod? These challenges were successfully taken on by Julie Kniedl in her rendering of two beloved Australian native plants, Golden Wattle and Coastal Banksia, featured in our book Botanica.
During the middle of winter, grey days are enlivened when wattle shrubs and trees begin to bloom with an abundance of vibrant, yellow blossoms.
The golden wattle, acacia pyacntha, Australia’s floral emblem, has delicately fragranced flowerheads made up of tiny flowers with little petals and prominent stamens that give the flowers their pompom-like appearance.
To make the small, puffball flowers with a plentiful coverage of stamens, Julie used filigree beads as a base. As shown in step-by-step photographs in Botanica, the wire stem for each flower head is first threaded through the bead which is then covered with short lengths of stranded silk attached in pairs.
The lengths of silk are couched to the bead through the perforations, and once attached, the strands separate easily to help fill out the flower head into a plush sphere.
The buds are formed using the raised embroidery technique of slips. Here, the slips are embroidered with French knots, cut out and stitched together over the end of a wire that forms the stem. The wired leaves are shaded with long and short stitch, and all elements are assembled onto the main stem by wrapping the wire stems together.
Coastal Banksia is a masterpiece of integrating stitched and natural elements.
The stitched elements themselves are so realistic it’s not immediately obvious which is natural, and which is stitched.
Banksias are renowned for their striking seed cones and narrow leaves that spiral around the branches. The coastal banksia, Banksia integrifolia, has dark green leaves with a silvery-white underside that, unlike other banksia varieties, are smooth-edged rather than serrated.
Julie used stranded silk to stitch the wired leaves for her piece, including a contrasting underside for the upturned leaf, hinting at the natural growth of the plant where flashes of the pale colour can be seen here and there on a tree.
The construction of the seed cone is particularly intriguing, and as always, the instructions for making your own are supported with detailed diagrams and photographs. Wool threads are used for the French knots that form the knobbly surface without follicles, worked in sections onto pieces of felt that are stitched together and padded to create the cone shape.
The follicles are wired clamshell shapes, also worked with wool threads, with golden brown colours used for the open follicles that still contain seeds. They are made separately and stitched to the prepared cone in close rows. The wired base of the seed cone and leaves are carefully secured to a small branch to complete this stunning sculptural piece.
Both the Golden Wattle and Coastal Banksia are, along with all of the projects in Botanica, a testament to Julie’s attention to detail and creativity. Her skill in both devising the structural foundation of her pieces and showcasing the colours and forms in the natural beauty that enriched her world, became central to her artistic expression.
Make Your Own Coastal Banksia & Golden Wattle
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit
Stunning seed pod and leaves of a banksia by Julie Kniedl from Botanica.
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Coastal Banksia includes everything you need to re-create this magnificent banksia: Fabrics (unprinted), wool felt, wires, embroidery threads and needles.
A graceful stem of wattle with fluffy yellow flowers, leaves and plump buds by Julie Kniedl from Botanica.
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Golden Wattle includes everything you need to re-create this stunning wattle stem: Fabrics (unprinted), wire, beads, embroidery threads and needles.
Please Note: To cater for flexibility in purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step details on how to create this project, please refer to our magazine or printed/digital patterns.