Prism by Natalie Dupuis

16th August 2019

We’ve all admired the beauty of a rainbow after a heavy rain shower or stopped to smile at the colours reflected on a wall when the sun hits a glass window just so.

The refraction of light into the seven colours of the rainbow is remarkable to behold yet also something we often take for granted.

When light travels from one medium to another, it bends or refracts. Thus, when light from the atmosphere hits a water drop, it changes direction. Pure light is made up of all of the colours or wavelengths of light which, when mixed together, are visible as white. When it hits a prism, a water droplet or some other medium, each colour is bent at a slightly different angle which is why they appear separated. In fact, the colours we see are very much dependent on our own position in relation to where the refraction is occurring.

Now we know you weren’t planning on sitting down to read your favourite needlework newsletter and get a lesson in physics along the way! But understanding the natural world can inspire a sense of pure awe which then informs our work. The truth is, as needle artists, the colours refracted from white light make up the palette we work with every day, so knowing their origin is a wonderful thing.

With a deeper understanding of the formation of the rainbow, you can look at Natalie Dupuis’ Prism from Inspirations issue #103 with new eyes. Her breathtaking combination of metal thread and rich silk, stitched using a fascinating variation of the Or Nué technique, is one of the most perfect representations of the majesty of nature you could encounter.

In this tiny brooch, Natalie has described how pure white light might hit the decadent crystal in the centre and scatter outwards in an exquisite rainbow of colours, fading to its purest white form at the edge.

This project requires both precision and creativity. Although placing the colour in accordance to the colour wheel is vitally important to achieve the stunning effect, the shading achieved through the individual stitches is up to you.

If you are new to metal thread embroidery, you may find the behaviour of the threads a little unusual. In particular, when manipulating the silver passing thread it is best to take it slowly. Drawing concentric circles on your ground fabric helps to ensure it lies perfectly. When it comes time to use the coloured silks, you will need to work with multiple needles. This saves unthreading and rethreading the needle each time which would be both frustrating and would cause the silk to deteriorate faster.

It is easy to imagine that each stitch of this magical project is a tiny droplet of water refracting pure white light at just the right angle to display a flash of brilliant colour. With your needle, you can emulate nature in its purest form.

The colours of Prism will bring joy to even the most traditional of white-on-white embroiderers as they blend together in such perfect harmony. Who are we to argue with nature?!

Make Your Own Prism

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Prism by Natalie Dupuis is a sparkling brooch with a burst of coloured silks worked in Italian shading over silver passing thread.

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 103

Digital Patterns

Prism – i103 Digital

Printed Patterns

Prism – i103 Print

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Prism includes everything you need to re-create this glorious brooch: Fabrics (unprinted), kid leather, wadding, brooch finding, embroidery threads, crystal and needles.

Please Note: Instructions are not included with our kits. Refer to the magazine for detailed information on how to create the project.


Prism – i103 Kit

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