I`ve been concentrating on making bumble bees this week , a few brooches and embroidery hoops to top up my Etsy shop and to send down to Made in Britain in Bristol. I really enjoyed it as I hadn`t made them for a while and it was nice to make something that reminded me of Summer on such dark, gloomy Autumnal days.Three brooches for my Etsy shop.
I love this vintage fabric, printed with bluebells. A piece of from an old curtain which is printed all over with little vignettes of cottage gardens.
This little piece, printed with Livingstone daisies, came from the same curtain. Just perfect for adding a little bee and setting in a cute 4″ hoop.
Another pair of bees stitched onto a remnant of vintage linen.
I thought the colours in this woven fabric worked really well as a background for this bee. It was a tiny piece of recycled furnishing fabric, just big enough to make one brooch!
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
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!
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!
I`ve just spent the last couple of days making some more bumble bees brooches and I`m really pleased with the results. I used the drawings I did last year for inspiration again, but I let these ones ‘evolve’ as they were being made which means that they are all slightly different. They really seemed to come ‘alive’ when I embroidered their little legs, I took care over the angle of their legs to try and suggest movement and to give them a sketched feel. I really love their textures, I think the layers of fabric scraps and stitching give them a lovely furry look. It`s been such a cold Spring so far that I haven`t spotted any bumble bees in the garden yet, but I`m looking forward to seeing them soon.
My bee brooches have been selling well over the last few months.
These are a few that I made for the Lucie Fenton Gallery in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.
This one is my favourite, it was taken from a drawing I did of a bumble bee crawling over a dandelion.
When I made my first bee brooches I wasn`t sure if people would like them, I`m so glad they`ve proved to be a big hit!
I had such a good response to my little bee embroideries that I decided to do some more and turn them into brooches.
Tiny, layered scraps of black and yellow cottons and lots of scribbly stitching make up their bodies and they have hand-embroidered little legs. The bees have been stitched onto recycled linen furnishing fabric in shades of blue. My favourites are the ones on the dark, indigo blue fabric.
I think insect brooches will sit well with all my flowers and are also quite an edgy contrast. I`d like to try other insects, maybe butterflies or ladybirds, I`ll start with some drawings then work from there, I think the embroideries definately work best that way as it keeps them looking free and hand-drawn. I`ve got lots to catch up with next week, but if I get time in between making more fascinators and brooches for my stockists then I`ll start sketching, hopefully in the garden- if it ever stops raining!
I`m very lucky to have a sewing room, but it faces to the front of the house, so if I have hand sewing to finish, I`ll usually take it through to the kitchen table so I can look out to the garden. Quite often in Spring there will be a gentle tap (or bump) at the window and it will be a newly emerged bumble bee, trying to get to the jug of flowers on the window sill.
I think bumble bees are gorgeous, so fat and furry you just want to stroke them! They are the first bees to emerge in Spring and a sure sign that Winter is over.
I`d been thinking about bees this week, after having a dream that I made some pin cushions with busy bees on them. I wanted to have a go at stitching some bees, using the same layered technique I`ve been using for my heart brooches.
This was my first attempt:
It wasn`t quite right, so I decided to sketch some bees in the garden on the one sunny afternoon we had this week.
I love sketching animals from life, such a nice free and scribbly way to draw. I really should make time for more drawing, I enjoyed scribbling these little bees.
Then I did a couple of embroideries straight from the drawings. These were much better. I`m pleased with them, I think they look quite life-like, but with the same loose, sketchy feel.
I`m not sure what I`m going to do with them yet, perhaps they could be details on cushions, but I`m feeling inspired to carry on with this way of working- maybe birds will be my next project…