I`ve been working on lots more little stitched birds over the last few weeks. I love making them, especially as I invested in a new sewing machine a couple of weeks ago (a wonderful Bernina) which is an absolute dream to work with. I still feel that I`m gaining confidence with each one, and really enjoy going to town layering all the differnt coloured threads to create little paintings in stitch.
Here are a few recent birds, I must admit that I was especially pleased with some of them, but I think the little coal tit is my favourite so far.
I think this one is my favourite.
And of course, a few more blue tits!
I love this one!
I think it is the vintage fabric backgrounds that really help these little birds come alive, and a big part of making them is selecting just the perfect piece of fabric for them to perch in. Then I stitch in a twig or two, layering little scraps of fabric to look like bark. I like the layered, tangled look this gives, as if the birds are living in an overgrown garden– just like mine!
My sketchbook has been filling up with drawings of robins recently, which will be used as inspiration for some robin embroideries. This is my favourite way of working now- scribbly drawings first, then echo the colours, marks and line of the drawing in fabric and stitch. It was important to get the colours right- so many depictions of robins at Christmas time show them with dark brown backs and scarlet red breasts, but they are really more orange and grey than red and brown.
At this time of year, robins seem to be everywhere- as soon as you step outside, their song fills the air- little bright beads of sound. They look so cute but are actually tough little birds, and fiercely territorial. I`m sitting at the kitchen table while writing this and I can see a robin bossing the sparrows about on the bird table.
Here are a few of my favourite robin drawings so far:
This one is my favourite!
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…
I`ve been filling my sketchbook with drawings of garden birds this week. I really want to include birds in my work, especially the ones that fill my garden every day. I try to encourage as many birds as possible to the garden- my apple tree is like a bird cafe, hung with lots of feeders, and the first thing I do in the morning is go out (in my nightie) to feed the birds. They are quite partial to crushed digestive biscuits.
There is a beautiful thrush that can be seen hopping about on the grass most of the time. Thrushes are really welcome, hopefully they`ll keep the large numbers of slugs and snails down a bit. I love to listen to their amazing song on summer evenings too.
Blackbirds are probably my favourite garden birds. The glossy black males are so handsome (they seem to know it too!) and I really love their gorgeous, liquid song. There is a pair of blackbirds that have become quite tame, especially the female, which I have rather unimaginatively called Lady (well she is a ‘lady’ blackbird…). She`s never far away when I`m in the garden and always lets her presence known with a friendly soft clucking noise. She`s quite demanding too and always appears first thing in the morning for her breakfast. They have built their nest in the hedge again this year, as close as possible to the bird table!
Bluetits are so colourful and cute. There are always lots of them around the feeders on the apple tree.
I`m going to continue this week, there are lots more birds I want to try to draw, then hopefully the drawings will inspire some stitched pieces.