What Are You Stitching?
9th August 2019
Inspired by Carolyn Pearce’s ‘Perfect Love’ project, Inspirations issue #103 has been titled ‘The Artful Needle | Painting with Thread’ and it’s this theme that’s inspired our selection of projects for this week’s What Are You Stitching? – projects that have been painted with thread from some very artful needles indeed!
‘My passions are embroidery and gardening, and this project has been my way of expressing my love of the wildflowers that are found in South Africa through embroidery. My journey began by painting a postcard-size watercolour of a Namaqualand landscape. From there I decided to do an embroidery of the watercolour, also postcard-size.
The initial embroidery was of the house and a small section of the garden in front with some small trees and sky in the background. I transferred the design on to fabric, and so the journey began.’
‘My husband of 47 years, Louis, died at the time I completed the small postcard-size embroidery of Namaqualand.
He was always a champion of my work and very encouraging of what I did.
For a while I packed the project away, but the following year I took it out again at an embroidery class with Lesley Turpin-Delport. By this time, I had stretched the embroidery over card, ready for framing, but Les encouraged me to extend the embroidered garden onto a mount board, and so the second half of the journey began!’
‘Trees were added and I also coloured the background fabric with watercolour pencils and slowly the garden grew bigger. I became so absorbed in this project, letting my imagination take over, picking up threads randomly and stitching away. My threads and needle did the painting of the garden in my imagination. This was a very therapeutic time for me as I would imagine myself walking through the garden, enjoying the flowers and trees.’
‘It now hangs in the lounge of my new home, with the finished embroidery measuring 28 x 24.5cm (11 x 9.5”). I have been a subscriber to Inspirations Magazine for many years and always look forward to receiving the newsletter in my Inbox every week – thank you for all your wonderful inspiration!’
Gay, your stitching absolutely speaks to your passions of embroidery and gardening. Whilst we’re sorry to hear that Louis never got to see the finished result, we love that Lesley became your champion and inspired you to not only finish what you’d begun but expand the scope of the design in the process!
‘I related to your recent article on the concept of happiness through sewing or stitching for others. Enclosed is my first attempt at landscape embroidery. My inspiration came from Judy Wilford’s embroidered landscapes and although I cannot aspire to her talent, I was pleased with what I managed to achieve.’
‘This little piece, which is postcard size, was a gift for my sister who now lives in Canada. The landscape is our original family homestead near Young in New South Wales, Australia and the lack of tension across the fabric is because the work will be stretched and framed in Canada.’
Karen, we think you can absolutely aspire to the talent of Judy Wilford! Your piece is detailed but restrained and captures the beauty of the Australian landscape perfectly. It’s a thoughtful gift that will serve as a constant reminder to your sister of home.
Mary Anne Richardson
‘Apart from crazy quilting, my other passion is attempting to recreate old abandoned buildings in fabric wall hangings. I hate to see the old barns, churches and homes being left to decay and wonder about the stories of the people that once used them. I, of course, can’t leave my crazy quilt background out of the process and end up adding embroidery to help bring my scenes to life.’
‘I spend many hours in my sewing space overlooking the local river in a smallish town in southern Ontario Canada. Being retired means I have lots of time to devote to my creative pursuits, but that’s not to say I don’t wish for more hours in the day so I could do more!’
Mary Anne, what a fabulous way to allow the abandoned buildings of yesteryear to live on! Your piece is detailed and textured and leaves us too wondering about the stories of those who once lived there.
‘I look forward to receiving the Inspirations newsletter All Stitched Up! in my mailbox each week! I’ve been a keen embroiderer for more than 30 years and have covered many of the disciplines in that time. In 2005 I bought Di van Niekerk’s ‘Bottoms Up’ kit, mainly because of the children.’
‘For 10 years the kit languished in my cupboard until I developed a keen interest in embroidering trees. From there I had a light bulb moment and knew exactly how to embroider the children! My aim was to include as many stitches and different types of thread and ribbon as seemed appropriate.
Drawing on my experience as nursery schoolteacher in my younger days, the whole picture had to tell a story.
The sourcing for the right supplies started and I wanted a three-dimensional effect with a forest in the background.’
‘I went through old birthday cards, selecting images of trees, flowers, animals and many more. I arranged all the images and asked Lesley Turpin-Delport to transfer it onto silk. I then darned it onto counted linen and my exciting journey started! Lesley taught me how to create depth and balance with needle and thread. What a joy! As the picture grew, my own interpretation of the clothes and hair took over. In the end the picture grew beyond the original border and became what I pictured in my mind.’
Nola, it would seem Lesley has quite the knack for taking what someone has started and encouraging them to expand on their original idea! Your stitching has blended the children and the image you had in your mind simply seamlessly.
Have your artful needles painted something with thread? We’d love to see the masterpiece! Email photos of your work of art as well as a few details about your stitching journey to firstname.lastname@example.org