Recently I have started making moths created from layers of machine embroidery. They are really like little 3d abstract paintings in thread. I try to make them as close as possible to the real thing, layering threads and blending colours to recreate the markings on the wings. I love the challenge of making them, and their evocative names!
Green Carpet moth.
Death`s-Head Hawkmoth. This one was a special order.
Elephant Hawkmoth. Another commission.
I loved making this one. It was a real challenge, but an enjoyable one, and such gorgeous colours to work with.
My moths vary in size, measuring from about 12cm- 18cm across, so they could be worn as very large brooches. However I think they would look striking pinned to a curtain, displayed in a box-frame or hung on the wall just as they are. These have all sold straight away, so I`m feeling really inspired to make more and continue to explore these subtle and intriguing creatures.
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!
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!
I treated myself to some lovely marguerittes for the garden this week and they instantly added a dash of cheerfulness and sunshine. There really is something about daisies that lift the spirits.
I felt inspired to try some daisy embroideries, taken from the sketches of ox-eye daisies I did last year.
My friend recently gave me a bolt of vintage white glazed cotton and this is perfect for daisy petals. So crisp, lovely to cut into and gives the daisies a lovely lustre. I chose some bright, fresh, yellowish-green for the background.
Really pleased with these, I tried to make them as realistic and ‘drawn’ looking as possible. I`ll put these in my Etsy shop, perhaps set in embroidery hoops. I`d like to do a bigger piece, perhaps a large cushion or wall hanging featuring a whole swathe of daisies.
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.
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.