Primavera by Nicola Jarvis

1st March 2019

You may not realise it, but scientists have estimated that there are between 9,000 and 10,000 different species of bird in the world. From the largest ostriches to the tiniest hummingbirds, the diversity is phenomenal in terms of colour, size and characteristics.

Perhaps that is why we never tire of using birds in our embroidery, and Nicola Jarvis is one designer who captures the beauty and variety of our feathered friends perfectly.

‘Primavera’ from Inspirations issue #101 is a study of the Parus major, or Great Tit, a small but elegant bird that loves to visit Nicola’s garden in middle England.

LEFT: Primavera RIGHT: Peonies and Pear Tree

Primavera first appeared as part of a larger piece by Nicola, entitled Peonies and Pear Tree, but its regal bearing and exquisite colouring singled it out as the perfect subject for its very own project.

Bearing a pearl studded crown, Parus major glitters with all the sparkle possible in a mixed media piece.

We asked Nicola where her inspiration came from and she emphasised the importance of her garden for much of her subject matter. But she said she was also fascinated by the 18th Century Chinese-style paintings that adorn the walls of the Brighton Pavilion in Sussex and Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire.

She was taken by the bird’s smart little ‘waistcoat,’ which became all the more ornate in this design with yellow silk and gold filament. Nicola said she just had to include the Great Tit into her ongoing narrative tales from the ‘Loveday Garden’ – a reference to the garden she inherited when she moved to Loveday Drive.

Stitchers may feel intimidated by the mix of beads, goldwork and silk embroidery that comes together to create Primavera, but Nicola did offer a few hints. In particular, she recommended switching to a no. 7 needle when working with the metallic filament. Although the needle may seem large, it creates a big enough hole that the delicate but ‘scratchy’ thread can glide through easily.

Another tip was in relation to the beads and sequins on the trellis. Nicola suggested putting an actual pin through each bead as you are stitching them onto the sequin to ensure they don’t ‘flip’ and expose the hole. Once you’ve stitched the bead and sequin down together, place a pin stitch just under the sequin to make sure they’re absolutely secure. Pin stitches are important for the crystals as well. They help secure each crystal and prevent them from becoming loose.

To achieve the brilliant colour of this piece, the design is printed in full colour on the fabric. However, if you prefer to trace the design yourself, you’re able to emulate the colour in whatever way you choose. Perhaps it is time to get the paints out?

When completed, the Great Tit, accompanied by Nicola’s signature ladybird and beloved butterfly, will bring the scent of the English countryside to any house.

Primavera Enamel Pin

When it was time to select a project from Inspirations issue #101 to create as our next enamel pin, we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use one of Nicola’s famous bird designs.

Named after the project itself, Primavera is the most intricate pin we have created to date. Incorporating all the signature elements of Nicola’s original design, this beautiful pin features a golden crown, geometric and lattice motifs, finished in soft pastel colouring. Could this be the world’s most beautiful enamel pin? Decide for yourself and purchase yours today…

Primavera Enamel Pin

Inspirations Studios
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Make Your Own Primavera

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Primavera by Nicola Jarvis features a noble little bird in a pear tree embellished with beads, silk and metal threads

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 101

Digital Patterns


Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Primavera includes everything you need to re-create this delightful bird: Pre-printed cotton fabric, embroidery threads, beads, sequins and needles.


Primavera – i101 Kit

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