Monday, 6 October 2014

Autumn Winter Collection 2014

I've been really inspired by the upcoming trend in fashion of 'Folklore', a delightful and whimsical theme featuring woodland creatures and elements of craft.

Using pure wool and cashmere mixes creates a cosy feel to my new hatchlings and the stitching positively sinks into these lovely fabrics.
I continued to use sumptuous velvet for my hatchling's body and for extra colour in the wings. Still very much under the influence of Liberty of London fabrics, this time I chose the lovely prints on a wool and cotton mix.

To add an extra element of craft I added lashings of scrummy embroidery stitches in contrasting and toning colours. The images above show my re worked Art Deco moths in a statement size perfect on a wool coat or cardigan.
I also created the wool Monarch butterfly, larger than it's silk cousin, this one has the addition of beautiful vintage mother of pearl buttons on it's wings.
Other pieces are being added all the time, the latest being the Liberty wool bees, they come in two sizes and have wool and Liberty print bodies and wings with embroidery and beading.

All these pieces are backed in pure silk, making them extra luxurious.

My new collection is available in my Etsy store.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

New Designs

I've been rather lapse with my blog entries recently but that's because I've been creating new designs.
The first is a new bee brooch, I wanted a bee that was more 3D than my previous design so I set to on the body first. It was made with fabric that was first embroidered with the bee's yellow stripes, hi-lighted with gold threads. The fabric was then gathered, stuffed and sculpted with thread to create a plump little body.
The wings were made from silk organza with tiny sequins added to give the idea of drops of pollen. He has tiny glass beads for eyes and his legs and antennae are made with twisted twine.

So the bee was born and then I had a request for a ladybird, this was great fun I love being challenged and this was a great excuse to play. The body was made in a similar way to the bee, the wings were the exciting part. Made in layers of red silk with velvet spots, I covered the wings in shot organza, stitched and did some reverse applique. My signature micro sequins provided little flecks of light. The ladybird also has beaded eyes and cute legs and antennae. I've just been asked to make one as a mini fascinator!

The final new design is a poppy, made using the same techniques as my butterflies I loved getting the petal shapes just right and adding the tiny beads to create the stamens. I have now made them in three colours but I'm thinking of pink, white, purple ......... The possibilities are endless and then there's anemones.

The poppies are in my Etsy store at the moment the bees and ladybird are to order only please contact me at

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Masonic Banners.

Many of my Face Book followers may already know I have two sides to my embroidery work. as well as the butterflies, moths and insects a great deal of my working time is taken up with producing Masonic banners.
These banners are used by Freemasons in their ceremonies and can be up to 6ft tall. I have been making banners for 25 years and have a website devoted to them.
I started making them after being contacted at my degree show by a gentleman who asked me to recreate a Victorian banner in embroidery. The original banner was painted and had begun to disintegrate. So a new chapter began and over the years I must have made 100's of banners.
Like my Lepidoptera the banners are made in layers of pure silk, with applique and machine embroidery. They are then lined and backed in pure silk, many have fringing or cord trims to define the design.
Sometimes I am asked to design the banner from scratch, I will produce scaled artwork, this is then used to obtain permission from The Grand Lodge or Provincial office.
I love banners with plenty of detail and relish the challenge of new imagery. It is really rewarding to make these items as I feel they have an historic significance too. I have been very fortunate to be invited to several banner dedication services and they are very special indeed.

I also offer a conservation service for old banners, the preservation of these old textiles is very important to me.
 So as you can see quite a contrast to my bug work but the two worlds do collide occasionally. This last picture shows a beautiful heraldic style banner. The money for the banner was donated by the widow of a previous master of the lodge. I thought it fitting that she had a butterfly made in the same fabrics as the banner dedicated to her husband's memory.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Swallowtails - perfect inspiration!

The inspiration for my swallowtail was a  request  from a very good customer and fashion blogger
Fashioneyesta, After purchasing several of my other hatchlings Emily asked if I had considered a Swallowtail butterfly as it reminded her of a childhood story. After several sketches I felt I had perfected the shape and made my first sample. I decided to keep the colours to black and a very strong contrast in pure silk. the first hatchling was made in turquoise.
I used a layer of shot organza over the top of the silk, stitching with variegated threads and then a sprinkling of micro sequins. The antennae made from finely, knotted hemp string.

Several other colour ways followed, the most popular at the moment being the green.
After a making session one day I placed all the swallowtails on my mannequin and this sparked a new idea!
The swallowtail necklace was born. I decided to make a combination brooch/necklace, a small silver ring is sewn above the brooch bar, the ribbon and cords can then be threaded through. This was decided after a comment by a follower on Face Book. I'm very lucky to have such inspirational 'cyber

The collection is available in my Etsy shop with a new product coming soon, the Swallowtail cuff.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Liberty Lepidoptera.

I first fell in love with Liberty prints during my degree course. This was when Liberty had a small store on King's Street in Manchester. I would spend hours pouring over the beautiful Tana Lawn prints, occasionally purchasing a remnant with my meagre grant.
I added to my 'stash' many years later when I moved to Devon. I was lucky to find a small factory that made blouses for the London store, every now and then they had a sale, I was in heaven.
The prints have a wonderful quality to them and the fine cotton is just wonderful to work with. When I was a student I wore handmade pyjama style trousers in Liberty print. So my collection grew and stayed in a box until very recently. At the beginning of the year I decided to combine my hatchlings with the pattern and colour of Liberty.
And so the Liberty Lepidoptera collection was born. First were the butterflies or Liberty Belles.
These are very delicate brooches, made in layers of silk and cotton. The butterflies are then embroidered and finally embellished with tiny seed pearls or micro sequins.
Next came the moth shape, Liberty Beaus, the design based on the Luna Moth. the first one of these is winging its way to Australia
They make a great, lightweight present, maybe for Mothering Sunday. I think they would look fantastic on a cardigan, floral dress or denim jacket. At the moment I am offering free postage and gift wrap on the hatchlings, they are £12.50. Please see my Face Book page for current colours or contact me on
The free postage offer will be on until the end of March. I will then be listing the collection on Etsy.

The colours and prints have a lovely, cohesive vintage feel. It is fantastic to combine these great designs with my butterfly and moth shapes.
I hope you like the collection, I am very happy with my Liberty Lepidoptera and know many more hatchlings are to come.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Sketch Books

Ever since my foundation art course I have kept a sketchbook. One of my tutors stressed the importance of drawing every day, it's like training, developing a muscle. So I try to keep this up, every idea I have is jotted down and thought through on paper, there's also a great deal of observational drawing too.

I love using a variety of media in my work, watercolour, pencil crayon, ink you name it. I also like drawing on textured surfaces so handmade paper is a favourite. I create surfaces too collaging papers together.
While I was on my degree course I had a real block with drawing,  it was suggested to get over the 'frightening' white of a new piece of paper I draw on graph paper. I still like using different backgrounds now, at the moment it's old books.

I also recently had some of my sketchbook pages digitally printed onto large scale canvas, I'm so pleased with the results.

Drawing and painting is a vital tool within my work, it's way of visualising my thoughts and trying out shapes before they reach textiles and threads.

I also keep old sketchbooks and it's amazing to see ideas resurface, or work that I did several years ago become relevant to a current piece.
I'll be showing my current canvas stock at Exeter Craft Festival in July

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Butterfly Inspiration!

As you can see I love butterflies, moths & insects; in fact the natural world in general is my constant inspiration. It is just over 2 years ago that my work began to focus particularly on bugs.
I was taking part in a local art & craft fair called Art Bazaar, the organisers ran an award called The People's Choice. Here visitors to the event voted for their favourite stand. I was lucky enough to win and as part of the prize I had the opportunity for a solo exhibition at Barnstaple's Atelier Gallery.

The brief was that this had to showcase a completely new body of work. I had previously concentrated on landscapes and flowers so where to go next?

Well a visit to Exeter's Royal Albert Museum solved the problem. The collection had recently been revamped and the highlight for me was the butterfly room. Instead of the slightly, rigid Victorian style display of impaled specimens on long pins, these butterflies appeared to still be flying. The gorgeous creatures were captured under Perspex and surrounded you! There was my inspiration.

So I began to fill sketchbooks with images and photographs. One thing I did know was that all my pieces would involve my favourite fabric, silk.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

New beginnings

Hello and welcome to my first post.

 This year has been all about firsts so far. I have this wonderful new website  with a fantastic logo, a new Etsy shop  and now a blog. All this social networking is quite stressful for a self confessed 'technophob'. Though I am getting better I think my biggest success has been building up my Facebook page.  The hours I spend on the iPad are working, honestly!

Anyway enough of the technical stuff. I hope, in this blog, to let you know about my latest work my inspirations and anything else that interests me. Anything I think you will find interesting too.

At the moment I combining two parts of my embroidery work, the serious side and the more playful.
I make banners with my serious stitching head on and when I feel the need to be more creative I love the natural world. I'm always sketching and jotting down ideas for new pieces. I'm obsessed by insects at present.

The above picture shows embroidery for a banner. I use similar techniques in all my work, that of applique and machine embroidery with added details of hand stitching. All also use silk throughout my pieces. I love its colour, weight and texture. There's also a subliminal link to insects, only recently thought about that one!

A wall butterfly.

So thanks for reading, I'm so happy I've written by first blog and I'll speak again soon.
Heather x

Monday, 20 January 2014

Hello! This is my first post.

This is my space to share my work in progress, inspiration, thoughts and musings. I hope you enjoy.