Our Lady Of The Flowers

Our Lady Of The Flowers

IMG_20170611_174032_065

This one started differently, and with a lot of stumpwork again.

IMG_20170614_183124_340

After it was confirmed that I would have my work on display at Onca Gallery for their Remembrance Day for Lost Species I wanted to make an Extinct Icon that specifically related to their theme for this year – Pollinators.

IMG_20170615_182906_136

I knew immediately that it had to be a fruit bat. The importance of bats as a species has been close to my heart since I took part in a conservation project in Malaysia in my early 20s.

IMG_20170617_175813_105

Bats are the bees of the tropical world, is something I’m fond of saying.

IMG_20170618_174217_601

Three of the most important crops they pollinate are cocoa, banana and agave, amongst over 500 others we in the west are used to enjoying.

IMG_20170619_190015_073

Bats are massively threatened by habitat loss – rainforests cut down for palm oil plantations being a big one.

IMG_20170620_170007_838

So I was inspired by religious iconography from the tropical world, usually the Virgin Mary surrounded by very colourful flora and fauna (think Our Lady of Guadalupe).

IMG_20170621_224239_496

I’ve not made detached slips so heavily beaded before and they were obviously a lot heavier than just embroidered ones.

IMG_20170622_190255_559

I knew this one would be smaller given the comparative scale of a bat’s skull so I switched to my hoop.

IMG_20170623_185020_456

IMG_20170624_162448_626

IMG_20170625_174935_400

IMG_20170626_173039_316

The moon is a nod to the nocturnal habits of this species.

IMG_20170627_170912_395

IMG_20170628_170649_967

As is the starry sky here.

IMG_20170629_160912_580

Assembly…

IMG_20170630_184440_153

To combat the heaviness of the slips they were both plunged to the reverse as well as sewn along the sides, creating sort of cups.

IMG_20170701_182007_534

IMG_20170703_184912_241

In the United States bats provide an estimated $3.7bn in insect control, but in much of the rest of the world they are woefully under researched.
Many pollinating species of bats have already become extinct, like the Dark Flying Fox of Mauritius and Reunion, or the Guam Flying Fox, due to hunting from settlers, or habitat loss from mono culture farming like oil palm. But we just don’t know how many species may be threatened.

*** 25th November Masterclass is SOLD OUT!
BUT the good news is, due to popular demand I’m running another one on 2nd December! Only 3 spots left so move fast if you wanna make your own homage to the pollinators – details here!***

Upcoming Exhibitions, Workshops and Commissions

Upcoming Exhibitions, Workshops and Commissions

IMG_20170806_135039

Lots of exciting news happening with me at Mother Eagle Towers.

First up, join me on 29th October in Worthing 10am-4pm for my Embellishment Workshop, where I will teach you the techniques to make one of three exclusive Halloweeny designs pictured above.

You will learn:

  • Felt padding
  • Applique
  • Embroidering over relief
  • French knots
  • Sequin techniques
  • Beading techniques
  • Wire wrapping
  • Plus lots of one-to-one coaching in applying your own creativity to textile design.

Suitable for all abilities, places are extremely limited and cost £75 which includes fabric, hoop, instructions, needles and use of my entire embellishment cache! Plus I can promise it will be a fun and informal day and there will be pumpkin themed snacks.

Contact me here to confirm your place!

snailcomplete1

Exhibitions this Autumn

Catch pieces from my Ugly Gods series at Stitch-Up at Brush in Brighton from 19th September until 3rd October.

IMG_20170516_172436_210

I am also delighted to announce that you will be able to see the entire collection of Ritual Burials and Extinct Icons at ONCA Gallery in Brighton from 22nd November to 3rd December in the largest exhibition of my work to date. The event runs as part of the annual Remembrance day for Lost Species programme and promises to be a really dynamic and exciting curation of my work. The private view will be on the evening of 23rd November and I would invite you all to come along, I’d love to meet you.

Beetle

As part of the programme of events for this exhibition and Lost Species Day I will also be running a Hand Embroidery and Embellishment Masterclass on Saturday 25th November at ONCA from 10am-4pm (times TBC). The theme of the workshop is Pollinators and I will be teaching techniques used to make one of 2 designs – a beetle (see above) or a moth/butterfly.

The day will be an exclusive chance to have a private tour of the exhibition with me, and a close look and explanation of the techniques used in my work on display. We will then get down to business customising and creating your chosen design, and will cover:

  • Felt padding
  • Applique
  • Embroidering over relief
  • French knots
  • Turkey Rug work
  • Surface embroidery techniques
  • Couching
  • Sequin techniques
  • Beading techniques
  • Wire wrapping
  • Plus lots of one-to-one coaching in applying your own creativity to textile design.

This will be a special day for textile art enthusiasts and due to the very limited nature of the places available, all abilities are welcome as I will be able to give lots of one-to-one attention. Places are £75 and will include fabric, hoop, instructions, needles and use of my entire embellishment cache. There will also be a special goodybag for each attendee!

Contact me here to confirm your place!

IMG_20170725_160539_232

Last but not least!

After a hiatus of many years, commission slots are now available for purchase in my Etsy shop. Head on over there for all the details!

 

The Witch of St. Kilda

The Witch of St. Kilda

This piece was a lot of fun to do. Which was helpful because the story of the Great Auk’s demise is incredibly sad and has had me in tears more than once.

I spent quite a lot of time designing this piece mainly because I have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to white, clear, pearlescent beads and sequins. I wanted the colour palette to suggest the icy homes of this penguin-like bird, as well as lending a magical, ethereal feel.

IMG_20170227_175900_609

There was also a lot of scope for different techniques; goldwork:

IMG_20170228_175129_090

IMG_20170301_170946_947

Lots of beading:

IMG_20170302_182521_781

IMG_20170303_193355_101

IMG_20170304_133335_448

IMG_20170304_184802_230

Just in this crown we have (bottom to top) plastic pearls, glass cubes, diamante, iridescent seed beads, silver seed beads, pearl rhinestones, plastic teardrop, silver pearl purl and lovely big diamante rhinestones. I just used Guttermans polyester buttonhole thread for all of this.

IMG_20170305_162231_441

IMG_20170306_175254_538

Everything in monotone is quite tricky to photograph.

IMG_20170307_171106_340

These are long vintage glass silver lined bugle beads.

IMG_20170308_173309_326

I bought a lot of opalite chips after completing the last piece, using semi precious chips. I knew these translucent, opalescent stones would be perfect.

IMG_20170309_182321_252

IMG_20170310_173059_924

Then I used tiny pearlescent 2mm sequins to fill the centre circle.

IMG_20170313_175152_179

IMG_20170314_175057_069

IMG_20170316_184855_380

IMG_20170317_175351_148

IMG_20170318_205325_466

Finally I embroidered the beak in split stitch.

IMG_20170320_191606_476

The Great Auk was a flightless bird, similar to a penguin. It bred on rocky, isolated islands, foraging for food in Atlantic waters. It ranged from northern Spain to Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Faroe islands, Norway, Ireland and great Britain. Great Auk pairs mated for life, and estimated to have a maximum population in the millions.

The species had great significance for Native American cultures as far back as the Neolithic age, both as a food source and symbolically.

Overhunting, and mainly massive European exploitation and demand for the birds down, skin, and eggs led to it’s demise, and was finally and cruelly obliterated by 1852.
The story of the Great Auk is one of the saddest, in fact researching this piece and even writing this now brings me to tears. I won’t repeat them here, but there are several truly appalling tales of man’s cruelty and thoughtlessness dealt to this harmless and trusting animal on Wikipedia, including the story behind this piece’s title.

12″ x 19″

IMG_20170321_175445_904

I hope you enjoyed this post, thank you for following my work! As always you can follow me on Instagram for (usually) daily pictures of my work in progress and all the latest updates on exhibitions, classes and workshops.

Extinct Icons: The Divine Beest

Extinct Icons: The Divine Beest

IMG_20170121_191254_552

By this point I had increased my stores of beads and sequins quite considerably, mostly due to the kindness of strangers donating their unwanted bits and pieces.

IMG_20170122_171917_273

The elongated, more simple skull and horns of this animal gave me a lot of opportunity to continue with my embellishment experiment.

IMG_20170123_204659_788

I accidentally started embroidering on the wrong side of my cotton drill. Which is annoying because the diagonal weave on the right side provides lovely guide lines for shading.

IMG_20170124_174118_292

I didn’t give it much thought at the time, but the photograph of the skull that I used to trace my design from provided little texture, meaning the skull was particularly ‘clean’. However in the overall composition this balanced really well as the horns were so embellished.

IMG_20170126_183044_663

Holographic gold sequins. Sigh.

IMG_20170128_183405_105

IMG_20170129_181732_372

This photo is a little shaky but for this piece I wanted to exaggerate the Hartebeest’s spiritual significance in North African culture with, amongst other things, the choice of semi precious lapis and turquoise stones. 

IMG_20170130_184704_021

As usual, I made it up as I went along, alternating blue and turquoise, inspired by an ancient Egyptian palette.

IMG_20170131_181011_010

IMG_20170201_181440_980

IMG_20170202_192007_490

IMG_20170205_170724_152

IMG_20170208_180244_453

I used red accents very sparingly. Although this was fun, it was harder than it looks, trying to keep each section unique, and the lines relatively even.

IMG_20170209_181517_875

Once the horns were done, I just had the halo to complete.

IMG_20170210_173633_264

For this I chose gold passing.

IMG_20170211_173704_629

IMG_20170212_194330_032

Ugh, the pain of tying back your ends.

IMG_20170222_171130_562

Finally I used flat black sequins to create a motif around the gold halo, in a nod to the aesthetic of the sacred cow Goddess in ancient Egypt Mehret Wehret and Hathor.

IMG_20170223_175627_521

The Bubal Hartebeest was a social animal, formerly native to the land north of the Saharan desert. It’s main predator was the also extinct Barbary Lion.
It was an animal of significance in ancient Egyptian culture. Remains of Bubal Hartebeest have been found in archaeological sites as well as hieroglyphs (the sacred form of writing) representing the animal. Possibly a sacrificial animal, it is also mentioned in the Old Testament.
It’s numbers sharply declined in the 19th century after the French conquest of Algeria, when entire herds were massacred at once by colonial military. The last captive animal died in the Paris zoo in 1925

NEW: Classes now available – and shop update too!

Diligent fans of my website (I know you’re out there) may have already noticed that I have added a couple pages. Firstly, you can now get in touch with me even easier, as there is a nice simple Contact Me page.

But more excitingly, I have added a page called Classes: I now offer one-to-one teaching in my home studio in West Sussex. I have designed these classes based on feedback from my Instagram followers, and they’re all completely customisable to allow students to get tailored advice. Realising I also have followers overseas, I am also offering embroidery coaching, by the hour via Skype, to help with any of your embroidery issues or project problems. Go and have a look!

Finally, I’ve updated my Etsy shop – given it a makeover and made all my remaining Ritual Pieces pieces available for sale. There’s also a direct link from each piece here in my Portfolio to the listing where you can buy it. Easy!