Rainbow Bee-eater by Wendy Innes

3rd June 2022

The world of birds is filled with some of the most exquisite colours imaginable. When we think of brilliantly coloured feathers, many of us will imagine the famous birds of paradise with their shimmering plumage, however there are so many other types of birds that can put on a colourful display.

In Australia, there are a huge number of native birds, many of which are just as gorgeously coloured as their tropical counterparts. The Rainbow Bee-eater is one.

This clever little bird is found in many parts of southern Australia and is known for its jewel-like colours and long, distinctive tail streamers. It lives in open forests and woodlands, although it will also build nesting tunnels in places like quarries, cuttings and mines.

The main food sources, as the name suggests, are wasps and bees.

However, the Rainbow Bee-eater has evolved to avoid getting stung by its favourite meal.

They often catch their dinner mid-flight, then will carry it back to a perch where they will proceed to rub the insect against the branch to remove the stings and venom glands. Only then will the Bee-eater enjoy its hard-earned meal.

L – Bee-eater close-up | R – Curious Guinea fowl on location during photoshoot

The brilliant colours of the feathers mean that this little bird is an ideal subject for needlework. Wendy Innes has captured one of these creatures in her latest project, incorporating both threadpainting and stumpwork in a miniature masterpiece. 

Her main subject, the Rainbow Bee-eater, sits atop a spray of flowers. His eyes are fixed on a distant point, most probably an unsuspecting bee hovering over a neighbouring flower.

Although his wings are closed, the image is so lifelike, you can almost detect the slight anticipatory movement as he readies himself to swoop.

The flowers on which he rests are an artistic subject in themselves. Worked in stunning raised embroidery, the intense blue blooms of the scented sun orchids complement the feathers of the Rainbow Bee-eater perfectly.

Wendy has included a combination of both surface and raised petals to add to the realism of this study. It is magnificent in all respects: in colour; in detail and in the finished result.

It is always wonderful to find a project that allows you to indulge in several passions all at once. To enjoy the pleasure of threadpainting is one thing, but to then include the equivalent pleasure of creating detached elements and then constructing the finished piece is something else entirely.

You have to look twice to realise that the Rainbow Bee-eater is actually stitched. It would be easy to believe that this lovely little bird had just popped into your living room to pay you a visit before heading off into the sky, on the hunt for his next delicious meal.

Make Your Own Rainbow Bee-eater

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Rainbow Bee-eater by Wendy Innes is a brilliantly coloured stumpwork panel with colourful bee-eater and sun orchids.

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 114

Digital Patterns

Rainbow Bee-eater – i114 Digital

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Rainbow Bee-eater includes everything* you need to re-create this wonderful stumpwork panel: Fabrics (unprinted), felts, wire, fibre-fill, sewing thread, embroidery threads & needles.


Rainbow Bee-eater – i114 Kit

*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the magazine/digital pattern.

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