Happy New Year!
My first working week of the year has been all about bluetits.
First came some scribbly drawings in my sketchbook, inspired by all the bluetits in my garden:
Next came three embroideries inspired by the drawings:
All three embroideries sold straight away in my Etsy shop, which was a lovely start to the New Year. I`m feeling much more confident with free machine embroidery and really enjoyed stitching these little birds, layering fabric and thread to echo the original drawings. I was really pleased with these little bluetits and I want to work on lots more, as well as all the other birdy visitors to my garden. I`m so lucky to have a garden that is always filled with birds, probably because it`s really overgrown and filled with bushes and trees… I always keep the feeders topped up and I added another little bird table this Christmas which I put outside the kitchen window. Birds are always a bit wary of something new, but bold little coal tits visited first, and now there are all kinds of garden birds flying in for a snack all day long.
Last year was a great year for me, my work took on a new direction and I finally started to bring together drawing and sewing. I started an online shop and began to get the hang of Etsy, and also realised the wonders of selling and networking online. Now I`ve got lots of lovely customers and wonderful support and encouragement via Etsy and Facebook. This week I passed 1000 likes on Facebook which I was really amazed and happy about. I`m so excited to see what this year brings… I`m going to begin with lots more drawings and stitching of birds.
I`ve made a few little batches of stitched robins now, and they are continuing to be popular. I`m really pleased with my latest ones, I feel that I`m really getting the hang of them… The little 4″ hoops are my favourite. I like the fact that they are small enough to hang on a Christmas tree– I`ll be making a few of these as Christmas presents!
Here are a few of my favourites from my latest batch.
Hello again to my poor neglected blog! Here we are in October already, the summer flew past and now it`s Autumn with Christmas fast approaching. It has been a very busy Summer for me and a creatively satisfying one. I really feel happy with my work now and I`ve settled into a style that marries four things I love; sewing, drawing, nature and vintage fabrics. I also finally embraced the wonders of Facebook a few months ago and have built up a wonderful network of supportive people and customers. So although my blog posts have become rather few and far between, I post on Facebook daily with news, previews, sketches and finished work. My Etsy sales have become steady too, and having the Etsy shop has really helped me focus on the style and look of my work.
I`ve been setting little stitched pieces in embroidery hoops quite a lot recently. Customers like them because they can buy a little piece of textile art that is ready to hang, and I really enjoy working within a circle. There is something quite satisfying about a circle, and I like the way a motif from a piece of vintage fabric becomes focused and can frame a little stitched creature. They remind me a bit of vintage plates hanging on the wall, and have become quite popular, I`ve had lots of sales and a few commissions for them. These are some of my favourites:
I love blackbirds!
Bees and butterflies were very popular over the summer. I want to work on lots of more birds over Autumn and winter and maybe some mammals (I`ve had an order for a hedgehog!). My focus over the next couple of weeks will be robins, I`ve got some lovely old linens and muted furnishing fabrics for backgrounds and some tiny 4″ hoops that would be just the right size to hang on the Christmas tree… I`ve had lots of lovely comments for my drawings too, so my next few bird drawings won`t be in my sketchbook, but for sale in my Etsy shop!
Filed under bees, birds, butterflies, drawing, embroidery, embroidery hoops, ladybirds, machine embroidery, online shop, recycled fabrics, stitched birds, vintage fabric
Three little embroideries set in mini embroidery hoops, freshly listed on my Etsy shop. Two butterflies and a bumble bee.
I really like the soft, muted colours of this vintage linen.
I deliberately chose this piece of fabric so the bee looks like it`s crawling over daisies.
This little piece of fabric reminded me of a cottage garden.
I set my daisy embroideries into hoops too and I think they work quite well. I backed the embroideries with natural calico, with a thin layer of wadding in between. The fabric at the back was carefully snipped away and I decided to brush a thin coat of PVA glue onto the edges to prevent fraying and set the fabric into the frame. I`ll definately do a few more of these, in various sizes, perhaps birds next!
Inspired by my forsythia drawings, I made this little stitched sampler this week.
The forsythia twig is ‘drawn’ on some loose woven, vintage linen, framed by scraps of toning cottons, vintage lace, cotton tape and shell buttons, all sewn onto a small piece of pale yellow recycled furnishing fabric. I want to experiment with lots more botanical stitching, based on drawings, I`ll just play around with little samplers till I feel I`m getting it right.
Last week it was all about bees and butterflies again as I concentrated on finishing some more brooches and lavender hearts. I also had a commission for some bee sketches from a nice lady via my Etsy shop.
The drawings gave me a chance to look closely at bumble bees again and inspired a few more brooches.
Two new bumble bee lavender hearts. I chose pale vintage linen so that the bees really stood out.
I love the colours in this butterfly, my favourite brooch from the latest batch!
These are some butterfly brooches that I`ve been working on over the last week.
It took a bit of trial and error to get them right at first, but I`m really pleased with the final result.
The butterflies are built up of layers of tiny scraps of fabric, handstitching and machine embroidery. I painstakingly snipped out tiny pieces of cottons, choosing fabrics in soft, muted tones of orange, yellow, blue and brown to echo the colours of wild British butterflies. I was influenced by the illustrations in this vintage wildlife field guide book. The layers of machine stitching softened the effect further, with the black stitching picking up details of veining on the wings, outlining the butterfly and drawing the antennae.
I wanted these butterfly brooches to act as companion pieces to my bumble bees and made them the same way, trying to keep quite a loose feel to them.
It`s been such freezing, wintry weather all week so I`ve really enjoyed staying cosied up in my sewing room, surrounded by scraps of fabric and accompanied by my cat and Radio 4, creating these tiny heralds of Spring.
I`ve been busy this week making some more round heart brooches. They proved to be popular for Valentines day so I decided to make a few more. I used more muted colours for these ones, with some thick, twill-woven vintage calico for the background. I was quite pleased with these, the rough texture of the calico gave them a look (I think) of little sandstone pebbles. I only have a small piece of this fabric, so I`ll keep it for more brooches. I`ll be making a few of these brooches for my stockists, these ones are heading into my Etsy shop.
I`ve been experimenting with bits of linens and lace this week and I bought a big piece of calico to play with. I used to use calico all the time and it`s fun to work with it again. It`s such a humble fabric, with a folksy, homespun feel and speckled with tiny imperfections, but is also really sturdy and versatile . I love combining the textures of calico, grainy old linens, homely ticking and frothy vintage lace. I`m planning to combine these in new work, using the lovely creamy, neutral shades as a nice contrast with embroidery.
The calico I bought was stitched together like this on the roll. I like the utillitarian, rough stitches.
My first butterfly… lots more to follow…
I`ve been working on some little keepsake hearts this week too. They are stitched from calico, vintage fabrics, vintage lace and shell buttons. They have a linen sachet of lavender inside as well as a bit of padding. I like the idea of making little one-off treasures and mini embroideries, something I`m hoping to develope over the next few weeks. I tried to give these hearts a collagey feel, and I`ve used both machine and hand embroidery.
My Edinburgh stockists have been keeping me busy over the last few weeks on the run up to Christmas. I`ve been making lots of all my best sellers to keep them topped up. This batch of heart brooches were for Flux in Leith.
Some of my favourite brooches to make for Autumn/Winter are my leaf corsages. Inspired by Autumn leaves, they`re made from recycled tweed and felt which I`ve dyed in leafy colours. Each corsage is made up of a layer of four leaves, finished off with a rustic wooden button. The leaf shapes are ‘drawn’ freehand on the sewing machine so they are all slightly different.
My new layered corsages have been selling well and I`ve just finished my fourth batch of them. I made some lovely muted ones using recycled velvets and brocades mixed with voiles, tweeds and vintage ties.
I even made myself a silvery one to wear on my sparkly Christmas jumper!
The corsages inspired some little fascinators which I made for Miss Katie Cupcake in Cockburn street. The flowers are layered onto black felt with lots of net. I made them on hairbands so they are very easy to wear, perfect for a Christmas party!
Yesterday I took some time off to gather greenery from the garden to make a wreath for the front door and lots of bunches to hang up in the cottage. I used lots of textures and leaf shapes, mixing holly and ivy with hebe, laurel, golden privet and other evergreens. I always add a few sprigs of rosemary to the indoor garlands for the lovely scent.
Merry Christmas to all and best wishes for 2013!
Look out for my online shop, opening soon in the New Year.
I was having a (much needed) tidy and sort through of my fabrics recently and thought it would be nice to combine lots of different textures and make some new corsages for Autumn/Winter.
The flowers are made from lots of different recycled fabrics, including tweeds, tartans, corduroy, denim, vintage ties, satins, velvets and silks.
They have a sprinkling of vintage bits and bobs in their centres- buttons, beads, crystals and sequins. I enjoyed playing with all the combinations of textures and was quite pleased with the jewel-like effect.
My first batch of these brooches have gone straight into Flux, Fabhatrix, and the Lucie Fenton Gallery. I`m now working on another lot, all made in lovely berry colours, which should be ready in a few days.