I`ve started working on some little bird embroideries, inspired by my drawings in my sketchbook. So far I`ve finished a blackbird and a bluetit, and I plan on doing lots more. I`ve enjoyed the process of creating them, taking time to select fabrics and stitching them in layers to echo the scribbly marks, tones and colours in my drawings.
I set the first two into embroidery hoops, using vintage fabric for the backgrounds.
I was so pleased with this little blackbird when I finished it and it sold instantly in my Etsy shop. I think blackbirds must be my favourite garden birds, but I love them all and try to encourage as many as possible into the garden. I`m lucky to live quite near woodland so there are lots of birdy visitors and lots who live in the garden all the time, including a huge colony of sparrows who live in the hedge. There are always a few bluetits busy at the feeders hanging in my apple tree. At the moment there are lots of young ones which are much paler in colour than the adults.
I think I`ll try a little wren next, I`ve just spotted one flitting in and out of my plant pots looking for a meal. But the choice and variety is endless…
This is turning out to be a bit of a butterfly summer for me. I`ve been developing my stitched 3d butterflies, thinking of them as little soft sculptures as well as brooches. My recent ones are all based on real butterflies and I`ve been trying to make them as realistic as possible, layering tiny pieces of fabric and stitch and even incorporating little pieces of calico that I`ve hand painted to just the right shade. They are miniature labours of love!
The butterflies have gradually been growing in size, culminating in my Red Admiral which measures just over 14cm at its widest point. This would be rather large to wear as a brooch, but would look striking perhaps pinned to a curtain. All my new butterflies would be equally at home pinned into a little box frame, or hanging on the wall just as they are, the brooch pin on the back will hook happily onto a little panel pin.
I`ve been adding a few butterflies to my Etsy shop, although some people have been buying them directly from my Facebook page where they`ve been having a wonderful response, which is really encouraging.
I`ve loved making these butterflies, especially with the gorgeous summer weather we`ve been having recently. I sit on an old quilt in the garden, with my butterfly books spread out for inspiration and surrounded by scraps of cotton, handstitching the first stages of the butterflies, then coming in from the heat to the cool of my sewing room to finish off with machine stitching. Perfect! I`ve been more aware of butterflies in general too, spotting lots in the garden and on walks, although I can`t always get a good look to identify them properly. I`d love to be able to identify them as easily as garden birds, I only know a few at the moment. I`m looking forward to making more butterflies and also perhaps incorporating them into larger embroideries inspired by their evocative names.
This has been a wonderful summer so far, in fact it`s wonderful to actually have a summer for a change! Long may it last, although the garden would love a little rain- maybe just the odd shower at night!
Here are a few of my new butterflies:
a special order blue butterfly
my favourite so far!
I`ve been working on some new butterflies this week.
I wanted to make a freestanding butterfly brooch that would give the impression that a butterfly had just landed on you for a moment. I looked closely at illustrations in my butterfly book and tried to make the brooches as realistic as possible, painstakingly snipping out tiny pieces of fabric before stitching the into place.
These are based on Large White, Clouded Yellow, and Large Blue butterflies (with a little bit of artistic license…).
The wings are covered with layers of machine stitching and the butterfly is slightly padded and backed with felt. The antennae are made from strong button thread.
These butterflies can be worn as a brooch but I think they would also look lovely pinned into a little box frame.
These three will be listed on my Etsy shop, although one has been reserved already. I`m definately going to make more, I`ve been thinking of some larger pieces and perhaps some 3D butterflies incorporated into mixed media embroideries.
We`re now well into June, but because of the cold Spring, the garden is way behind. There are even still a few bluebells in bloom! I`ve planted out lots of seedlings among the perennial plants but the are still tiny. However everything is filling out now and there are a few flowers about. A wander with my camera yesterday proved that there is plenty of colour too…
Just finished ten more bumble bee brooches. I like to make them in small batches because there are so many layers and stages to complete in each brooch, it`s so satisfying when I finish the last one!
I used discarded furnishing fabric samples for the backgrounds of these bees. I like the earthy tones and chunky weaves. I only had a tiny piece of each fabric, just enough for one brooch, which makes each one unique.
I used this black and white print for the backs of this batch. I don`t use a badge maker, but carefully finish each brooch by hand and I like to choose pretty coordinating fabrics for the backs.
Five more bee brooches have been added to my Etsy shop!
My bumble bee brooches have been featured in this month`s Mollie Makes, my first magazine mention! I`m a big fan of Mollie Makes, so it`s very exciting. Got started on another batch of bumble bees this morning!
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!