Have Your Say

4th June 2021

Comparisons and the Bayeux Tapestry | Part 1

In All Stitched Up! issue #281 we addressed the difficult issue of comparisons. No matter how much we try not to, it is very difficult to avoid comparing ourselves to others. Even the most accomplished stitchers will see the work of others and quietly compare their own output, often unfavourably, giving credence to the truism that we are our own worst critics.

Furthermore, for all of the wonderful aspects of the internet, including the camaraderie and community that comes out of it, it can sometimes have a sting in its tail. We’re definitely not the only ones who have seen beautiful work online and, whilst we applaud and congratulate it, can’t help but hear that little voice which tells us that our work could never be that good. Before social media it would happen, but less frequently. Now it can happen day and night, with little more than a glance at our phone or computer.

A couple of our readers responded to our article with some important wisdom. Hazel Francis agreed that we often compare ourselves to others and pointed out how that had probably increased during COVID with everyone moving online in order to share their passion. But she also agrees that our stitching reflects who we are; our personalities; our skills; and the kinds of designs we love.

‘We should be proud of what we do, what we have done and where we’ve improved.’

Hazel makes the point that we can be inspired by others, but we should still find joy in our own style and not seek to make comparisons. You’re so right, Hazel. We all know it isn’t easy, but it is something we should strive for.

Lalah wrote to us as well, and we suspect her words echo many other stitchers out there. They certainly resonated here. She said that she has been embroidering for many years but has never felt that her work is as good as other people’s. But, after reading All Stitched Up! issue #281, she is now inspired to send us pictures and was grateful for the encouragement. We are looking forward to receiving them, and pictures from other stitchers out there who have suffered the same self-doubt. Everyone’s work is beautiful in its own right and we love celebrating all of it.

Mia Hansson with part of her Bayeux Tapestry. Picture credit – Mia Hansson (source)

In the same issue we highlighted Mia Hansson who was single-handedly recreating the Bayeux Tapestry.

A Section of Ray Dugan’s Bayeux Tapestry

We were amazed to see that Mia isn’t the first stitcher to take on this gargantuan task. We’re grateful to Lolly Challice who drew our attention to Ray Dugan who also re-created the Tapestry. Lolly was lucky enough to hear Ray speak about his journey and directed us to his website HERE where you can read about his amazing work.

Gail’s completed panel

Not every stitcher has been courageous enough to take on the entire Tapestry, but there have been stitchers who have tackled at least a panel. Gail Haidon is one of those people. She said it took her 12 years, on and off, to complete her panel. You can read about her journey HERE, and see her work in the photos, but she was amused by the fact that Mia enjoyed stitching the horses. Gail decided that after the first one or two, she was completely over them.

She vowed that once that panel was finished, she would: ‘never embroider another horse’s backside as long as I live!’

Finally, Hazel also shared that she had been lucky enough to see the original Tapestry in France, only to discover another replica in Reading, UK, where she was living at the time. This one was created in the 1800’s by an embroiderer who was married to a wool merchant. He sourced and dyed the wools then his wife and her friends stitched the reproduction. One of their motivations was that they felt the UK should have its own version of the French original, but we’re sure they must have gained plenty of hours of stitching pleasure out of the project as well.

Close-up of Gail’s Tapestry

This experience led Hazel to draw the two themes – comparisons and the Bayeux Tapestry – nicely together. She said: ‘in all we do we actually copy what is around us. We get inspired by others, but still add our own personal touch.’ We couldn’t have expressed it better ourselves.

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