Redouté’s Tulips by Trish Burr
23rd November 2018
Pierre-Joseph Redouté was one of the greats. Marie Antoinette knew it and commissioned him to become an official court artist to the Queen. Even Wikipedia gets it right when they refer to Redouté as a ‘painter and botanist from Belgium, known for his watercolours of roses, lilies and other flowers, and has been called the greatest botanical illustrator of all time.’
It is fitting therefore, that as Trish Burr began her career as an aspiring needlework artist, she would choose the best floral watercolour designs by the best botanical painter as her subject matter to then herself become one of the best threadpainters of our time. Success really does breed success!
This week we’re celebrating the beauty of the project Redouté’s Tulips by Trish Burr from Inspirations issue 100. Trish is known internationally for her threadpainting needlework in which she effortlessly blends colours to create stunning adaptations of Redouté’s paintings and more. Most recently she has also been a pioneer in the Whitework with Colour movement by re-inventing traditional whitework designs and techniques with the addition of colour.
The painting Tulips by Redouté has been perfectly reinterpreted by Trish using lustrous silk threads on a background of white linen. Subtle graduations and flashes of vivid colour are captured as deftly with a needle and thread as they were originally with Redouté’s own paintbrush.
We caught up with Trish for a first-hand account on the back story of this stunning piece from issue 100 and a chat about her love of threadpainting, or as she calls it, needlepainting.
‘As you know I have a love of all things Redouté. My first book was on Redoute’s finest flowers in embroidery and since then, although I have replicated several botanical paintings by other artists, none compare to the master Pierre Joseph Redoute. It seemed a fitting tribute for the magazine’s 100th edition to use one of his paintings and of course it was best reproduced in needlepainting.’
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone stitching this project for themselves?
‘Firstly, work one section at a time, focus on doing this beautifully and don’t be overwhelmed by the enormity of the project as a whole. Stitch the main (background) colours of each element and then add stripes/details on top of this, you will find it much simpler to work in this way. Start and end off each shade of colour as you need it, don’t park your threads to the side, it is confusing, messy and almost impossible to unpick if needed! Use the picture as a guide for placing shades/colours in an area – the instructions are a guide only and sometimes you need to use common sense to see where a shade should go.’
Trish first appeared in Inspirations issue #47 with her project ‘Portraits of Fruit’ and has been a regular contributor ever since, as well as featuring in the first volume of A Passion for Needlework with her hugely popular piece ‘Forest Kingfisher’. We asked Trish to share some of her memories of being a part of the Inspirations family over the years:
‘Having a think back I created my first design for an Inspirations book in 1999 so this year marks nearly 20 years of being a contributor. There have been so many projects over the years I have lost count, but I believe that what “blesses one blesses all”.’
‘I feel we have all been blessed by working together and I am grateful for the many opportunities to be a part of the Inspirations journey.’
‘One of my earliest memories is when my youngest daughter was 3 months old. I was a mature (new) mother and a bit shell shocked so just going through the motions of sleepless nights and trying to keep it all together, when I received a request for a project to be included in the magazine. Despite not having a minute to myself I craved the time out to create so I stole 20 minutes every now and then when the baby was napping to stitch two fruit projects which went on to feature as ‘Portraits of Fruit’ in issue #47.’
‘This was very precious stitching time and I treasured every minute of it – each of those 20 minutes took me away from diapers and feeding and gave me blissful time to myself! I had to give myself a refresher course on long and short stitch at the time as I had forgotten, and it was probably not my finest stitching but still loved it. My youngest daughter Katie is now 17 years old and one of my biggest advisors with my embroidery, she is responsible for the inception of Whitework with colour!’
‘Possibly one of the pinnacle moments was my first trip to Beating Around the Bush when I finally got to meet some of the tutors and long-time contributors who I had admired from afar such as Carolyn Pearce, Jenny McWhinney and Jane Nicholas. I felt very excited, nervous and privileged to be part of this elite “set” – it was like meeting the god’s of the embroidery world!
Inspirations is like my stitching family – I regularly turn to Susan O’Connor for her expert advice and think she deserves a medal for the work she is doing for the global stitching community. It truly is the world’s finest needlework magazine without a doubt.’
Looking back through the projects Trish has contributed to Inspirations over the years, it’s not hard to see why she has become one of our all-time most popular designers. From her trademark botanicals to iconic birds, an embroidered portrait through to her whitework pieces, not only is Trish one of the nicest people you will ever meet and so easy to work with, her seemingly endless talent speaks for itself.
If you’re like us and are and a super-fan of Trish Burr, here are some ways you can see more of her work:
Make Your Own Redouté’s Tulips
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
Redouté’s Tulips by Trish Burr is a study of magnificent threadpainted tulips based on a botanical watercolour.
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Redouté’s Tulips includes everything you need to re-create these stunning tulips: Fabric (unprinted), embroidery threads and needles.