If you didn’t manage to visit Helen’s exhibition at Glastonbury earlier this year, you will get a chance to see her participation in the “REAL” Glastonbury Festival this autumn! The Glastonbury Arts Festival Centenary celebrations will include an Arts and Crafts show On Sat/Sun 5th and 6th September … full details on the Exhibitions page.
Check on ebay for a selection of Helen’s vintage designs published in the 1990′s and 2000′s in Inspirations and Needlecraft Magazine …
Hurry !!! Auction ends Saturday 26th July
NOW READY … “THE BEAUTIFUL BOOKS” PAGE …
and … ORIGINAL ARTWORKS PAGE …
Here's another little "jewel"... they work even better (perhaps!) on a black background. It's often hard to decide whether black or cream, both neutral shades so that the colours of the embroidery itself are not compromised, is the best choice: really just a matter of personal preference, I think.
Mitty picked up ANOTHER rosette yesterday ...
Humming birds (like butterflies, but more of them later!) truly are the jewels of the air! The rufous humming bird, like others of its family can fly upwards, downwards and even backwards! Tiny though they are, the principles of stitching are exactly the same as with any large bird ... the tip of the beak is the "core" of the embroidery.
... this is a design on the underwater theme that I have available for anyone who is interested. £7.50 (template, colour chart, step by step instructions, carbon and tracing paper) plus p and p, payment by paypal. E-mail me direct if you are interested. firstname.lastname@example.org
Glad you all liked the underwater studies so much - I'm getting back to those of you interested in the designs soon... but for now let's go from water to air. Here is the beautiful osprey (sea eagle) with his lunch! This is a picture I worked some years ago as a commission and also features in my book "World of Embroidery".
One last underwater "unusual animal"... and they don't get much more unusual than this! This is the common jellyfish or "frilly lady". Isn't she beautiful? She is worked (as usual) in pure silk, but with the addition, once again, of the stripped blending filament - in this case Kreinik - to give that iridescent sheen.
Can't seem to drag myself away from the seaside at the moment! This lovely little seahorse appeared in one of my books a few years ago... I then taught him in a Masterclass. It's a tricky one, as, for once, the stitches don't fall to the nose. Each panel of the little fellow's "armour" is worked separately and then outlined in surface couched silver thread. Somehow it works!
Young dogfish hatch from their eggs which are held safe to the ocean's bottom by attaching to seaweed and other anchors. Then the cases detach and can float to the shore ... when fishermen first found them they thought they were miraculous evidence of an underwater civilization and called them "mermaids' purses". I wish!
Here's that spotting, and the way the surrounding stitches flow in more detail ...
This beautiful dogfish (the lesser spotted variety, no, really!!) brings together all the things we have looked at... in particular the inclusion of the Dalmatian dog spotting on a smooth textured surface, surrounded by a surface couched outline. To give the impression of the underwater setting, work long straight stitches in a stripped blending filament (Kreinik is especially good) over and/or behind the various other elements.
Well now, you are often asking me where you can get my designs! I have having some fun thinning out my collection of magazine back issues featuring my work and you can now bid for them on Ebay!! So far I am offering Inspirations Magazine and Needlecraft designs ... search on Ebay under "crafts" "Helen M Stevens Embroidery design". There are also a couple o vintage kits available, too.
Now, Mr.Toad has a completely different look and feel to his body ... sounds horrid, but he is often referred to as "warty" though I refer to call it "textured", so to create the right effect we need to use massed seed stitch. Toads have beautiful golden eyes, so they are quite a feature of a study such as this. By the way this is not the nasty cane toad, but the lovely, shy and rather endangered - despite its name - British common toad (Bufo bufo)
We are in the middle of what passes for a heat wave here in the eastern part of England, so I thought I would stick with a watery theme for our animals. In the same way as a metallic couched thread gave a slippery outline to the fishes, here the same gives a smooth, contoured outline to the frog. His Dalmatian dog spots and flooded opus plumarium follow the overall flow of this body, then the couched line stops him looks as though he is fluffy!
.... and the same basic techniques hold true for any kind of fish: here a rather exotic goldfish!
As promised ... at the top we have a fishy outline! Straight stitch (or opus plumarium) the main areas of the body, then needleweave (laddering) through the underlying stitches. Finally overlay with another area of straight stitching along the "backbone" and then work a surface couched edge in metallic thread around the whole ... with straight stitched fins in a finer gauge of metallic thread. Voila!
Phew ... it's a really hot day today, so let's slow down after all that running and take a look at another technique or two - underwater, in the cool! Here's Mr. Fishy, looking all slippery and scaley, so how do we achieve this? Opus plumarium, overlaid and needlewoven, plus surface couching... more details next time!