What Are You Stitching?

25th October 2019

One of the most exciting things about the project ‘Paisley’ by Susan Davis being featured in issue #104 is not just how exquisite her design is, but the fact that this is Susan’s debut in Inspirations magazine. Congratulations Susan!

So, in this week’s ‘What Are You Stitching?’ we’ve decided to feature some of our own debut artists and include projects stitched by those in the Inspirations community who are appearing in our newsletter for the first time.

A special welcome to our each of our debutants…

Ann Baseden

‘I paint pictures with felt and embroidery but have had great difficulty in getting these pictures accepted as art as opposed to merely craft. I did try to get my latest picture accepted in the Art side of this year’s Exhibition of the Dorset Arts and Crafts Association as being a mixed media painting, but because it was made from felt and yarns, it could only be entered in the Craft side and judged by the felt craft expert so that it was judged mainly on the techniques used instead of on its artistic merit. Although I achieved a Gold Award for work of outstanding merit, that was beside the point!’

‘My picture which is entitled ‘The Road Goes Ever On and On’ is the title of a poem by JRR Tolkien from Lord of the Rings. It is based on a photo taken on a ramble here in Dorset and the fact that you could see the track disappearing in the distance really made me think of this poem.

I like to make pictures of our countryside which is always beautiful. The basics of the picture are done in wet felt and needlefelt and details are then added with needle and thread, some of which are hand spun when I could not find the exact colour I needed. 

I blend the fibres and mix my own colours both for the felt and yarns. Great fun to do, but very frustrating not to get the results accepted as Art! Keep up the good work with your newsletter, I love to see what you send us each week.’

Ann, although you couldn’t get your piece classified as art as you’d hoped, it was a well deserving winner – not only for the techniques you used, but also for its artistic merit. Your piece is rich in colour, texture and story-telling detail.

Deb Quartz

‘In answer to your recent call for needlework projects, here is my latest hand embroidery project. The Green Woman is worked on 100% cotton muslin using Weeks Dye Works over dyed floss. I chose the colors named for herbs and other greenery which I felt was apt to the project. 

The eyes are done in DMC variegated floss to give the appearance of amber and the acorns are also done in DMC floss. I hope this piece inspires someone to start stitching today, I know I have had many inspired moments paging through your magazine and newsletter.’

Deb, we love that you chose threads whose names were apt to your subject! This approach has allowed you to create a piece that is harmonious and balanced.

Janet Every

‘The news of the launch of Laura Bateman’s book ‘Embroidered Country Gardens’ in Inspirations All Stitched Up! issue #199 struck a chord for me, as I have just completed a stitched garden which I have been working on, and – often – off, as pieces for other people took precedence, for about 10 years. 

I had inherited from my mother-in-law a sewing box made for her sometime in the 1940s by my father-in-law. My father-in-law had inserted a piece of fabric into a recess on the underside of the lid and I dreamt up the idea of embroidering a secret garden, seen only when the box is opened, to replace it.  Both my in-laws were very keen gardeners and my husband carries on that tradition with great flair.’

‘My good fortune was that, just as I had this idea, Jenny Adin-Christie was beginning her solo career and I was lucky enough to become one of a small group of students who attended her first monthly studio classes, then held in a village hall.

Jenny listened to my woolly musings on what I’d like to do and created a wonderful design for me.

The garden is worked in a wide variety of stitches, threads and techniques and as the years have gone by, under Jenny’s tutorship and with the encouragement of those pioneering classmates, I have so enjoyed creating these little plants, celebrating the riot of colour and form an inspiring garden gives. 

The rejuvenated box was unveiled at a family gathering recently and I think we all feel it has many more years ahead as a useful workbox, but with a surprise inside!’

Janet, we love that so many skilled hands have played a part in a piece that is equal parts form and function – from your father-in-law’s construction, Jenny’s design right through to your meticulous stitching, it proves that it really does take a village! It’s a workbox that no doubt will be used by generations to come.

Lionel Fifield

‘A year ago, as a male approaching 70, I was visiting a friend who teaches Japanese Embroidery. There was a collection of work she had done around her house which were so superb, I asked if she ever sold any.

She challenged me to learn to embroider and said she would then teach me how to make one of those artworks. I had never held a needle in my life!

Although threading a needle was one big problem, my wife laughed and bought me a basic kit to start. I surprised her and here is my finished result which she insists on using in the hallway for flowers to go on.’

‘I attended a class in Dublin at the Annual Knitting and Stitching Show, which caused quite a stir as they do not seem to have many male attendees! I then visited my tutor and had a basic lesson and set off on the journey. I have learnt how to unpick errors on many occasions, but I hope this tale inspires others to try.’ 

Lionel, we love that you answered the call of needle and thread in your late sixties! It proves that it’s never too late to put our hands to something new. We can’t wait to see where your journey with needle and thread take you next.

Are you yet to make your debut in All Stitched Up? What are waiting for?! Email photos of what you’ve created with needle and thread along with a few details about your stitching journey to news@inspirationsstudios.com. We can’t wait to share your work with the Inspirations Community.

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