It’s a VIP because it’s a very important piece for a very important person to me. This client is an old colleague, mentor and friend and someone with exquisite taste. When she contacted me and we talked about her ideas I got really excited to make this piece for her newly renovated Art Deco style hallway.
She loves swans, and I love embroidering birds, so even though the Swan isn’t an animal I would naturally be drawn to embroidering for Mother Eagle (I think of swans more in elegant manicured gardens and ponds than dark wild woods) it’s the meaningfulness they hold for the client that drives the piece, and I knew I could create something really special for her.
She sent me some links to some swan imagery, and I knew we were going to get along creatively when I picked the one image out of hundreds that was her favourite, without any hint from her. This Walter Crane wallpaper design from the turn of the last century was very illustrative and had that Art Deco elegance I knew would work in the client’s space. Looking into the artist, in seemed an even more appropriate starting point:
“One of the 19th century’s most beloved children’s illustrators, British artist Walter Crane (1845 – 1915) was barely out of his own childhood when he first gained recognition. At age 13, Crane created designs for Tennyson’s poem, “The Lady of Shalott,” that were so impressive, famous engraver William James Linton offered him an apprenticeship. Crane was strongly influenced by Japanese prints, and his innovative illustrations reflect their flat color and bold lines. Although he painted landscapes and portraits, Crane is best known for his illustrations for Spenser, Hawthorne’s “Wonder Book” and Grimm’s “Fairy Tales.” Crane is still recognized today as one of the most important and innovative children’s book illustrators.”
A children’s book illustrator? Well, readers of this blog will know how influential they have been on me and my work. Happy coincidences all round.
This will be quite a bit larger than anything I’ve done before, probably even larger than my Fly Agaric piece. I will me embroidering onto one of my largest vintage doilies, and I have permission to share my progress with you over the next 4 weeks!