I have been very fortunate to have my work for sale at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter for a couple of years. Its very apt as their beautiful butterfly room was one of my inspirations when looking for a new direction in my embroidery.
You cannot fail to be creatively fuelled when you see such beauty.
The shop at the RAMM is really lovely and better still every purchase helps to fund the museum.
So I was thrilled to be asked to create an exclusive butterfly to coincide with the Criminal Ornamentation exhibition this January. This is a touring Arts Council exhibition curated by the artist Yinka Shinobare, exploring decorative art and craft, it brings big names to Exeter, including the work of Alexander McQueen, William Morris and Timorous Beasties.
My first stop was the online collection where I was drawn to the splendour of the Queen Alexander's Birdwing butterfly. Found in Papua new Guinea, though extremely endangered, the female is the world's largest butterfly with a wingspan of up to 30cm.
So using various source photographs I first sketched out my design, this helps me to select the colours of silk and thread.
The drawing is then used as a pattern, there are four layers of silk in each wing which are stitched to reveal the colours underneath. A final layer of shot organza is placed over the whole piece, I stitch again and then I cut away small areas before stitching again. The final stage is hand beading and adding tiny sequins to catch the light. The body of the butterfly is wet felted and then stitched into.
I have created a large wall piece and a smaller wearable version.
As January dawns I always find myself looking back at the year gone by, reflecting on the highs and lows and planning for the next 12 months.
For the purpose of this blog it will definitely be highs and I'm so lucky that their have been many.
I've had my work featured in some lovely magazines including this one, Be Creative, its a really beautiful publication and seems to be going from strength to strength.
I was fortunate to exhibit my work at Made in Cheltenham and it was here I met Andy Poplar from Vinegar and Brown Paper. This sparked an idea for a collaboration and one of my favourite ever pieces was the result. It sold very quickly. I do hope we can do more.
New work was a theme for last year too, I created new pieces for an exhibition at Unit Twelve in Staffordshire. Based on a kitchen garden theme these were embroidered seed packets with visiting creatures. I will be back to this lovely venue in August to teach some workshops.
In October I was delighted to be accepted as a member of the Society for Embroidered Work this organisation promotes embroidery as an art form. Take a look at their website, so inspiring.
The year ended with another order from Liberty London, my husband and I delivered in person and enjoyed a smashing day taking in the Christmas atmosphere.
2019 will bring lots of workshops and an exciting collaborative launch, please sign up to my newsletter to get all my latest offers and events. I'm really excited to see what this year has in store.