Tranquil Thoughts by Fiona Hibbett

21st August 2020

When we think of love, the first image which pops into our minds is the shape of a heart. 

For decades, this simple, symmetrical shape has symbolised love and there is no denying that it is universal (both the symbol and the feeling!).

From Valentine’s Day cards to emojis, from tattoos to those little notes you receive from your children or grandchildren expressing how much they love you; hearts are everywhere.

It is a strange thing though because, as most of us are probably aware, the actual human heart doesn’t really look like the classic heart shape. So how did that most common of shapes come to represent the most wonderful of emotions?

Unfortunately, no-one really knows for sure. There is plenty of conjecture. Some say the shape was drawn from the leaves of the ivy, a plant that once represented  fidelity.

Others suggest that it was a simplified and amended representation of Aristotle’s written description of the human heart. Aristotle had suggested the heart had three cavities, unequal in size, positioned from largest to smallest. Later illustrators amended this to represent two large chambers with a smaller one in the middle – hence the shape.

Still others indicate that early ‘hearts’ were shaped more like pinecones and were usually drawn in a way that we would now see as upside-down, with the point at the top. 

What is agreed is that prior to the 13th Century, the symbol was not associated with love. It was only as the idea of romantic love began to develop in medieval times that the link between the symbol and the emotion began.

Whatever the history, there is no doubt that today the heart symbol is the simplest and clearest expression of how strongly we feel about something. With that in mind, Fiona Hibbett’s sublime stumpwork project can be put into context. Her design ‘Tranquil Thoughts’ isn’t just a picture of pansies and daisies– it is a heartfelt expression of love towards these particular flowers and the beauty of nature that they represent.

Tranquil Thoughts from Inspirations issue #107 is worked in subtle, pastel colours, with raised elements that burst out of the confines of the heart shape which frames it.

Sitting right in the centre is a fat, fluffy bumblebee, busily exploring the floral bounty surrounding it. Her gorgeous eyes have fixed on one of the pansies and seem to be shining with excitement at the possibility of nectar within it.

In this way, one could interpret another form of ‘love’ as it exists between the plant and its vital, insect pollinator.

There can be layers of meaning in any shape, but what is true is that the heart shape is one that never ceases to bring joy. Tranquil Thoughts combines the joy of the shape with the delicate beauty of the raised pansy petals, the fascinating texture of the English daisies with their French knot centres, and the fluffy Ghiordes knot body and sparkling gossamer wings of the bee.

We have no doubt that from beginning to end, the overarching feeling you will have while you work Tranquil Thoughts will be love – for your craft, for the nature it represents and for the feeling you will get every time you see this piece hanging on your wall.

Make Your Own Tranquil Thoughts

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Tranquil Thoughts by Fiona Hibbett from Inspirations issue #107 is a floral heart design using foundation stumpwork techniques.

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 107

Digital Patterns

Tranquil Thoughts – i107 Digital

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Tranquil Thoughts includes everything* you need to re-create this charming design: Fabrics (unprinted), wool felt, fusible webbing, wires, embroidery threads, beads and needles.


Tranquil Thoughts – i107 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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