HAVE A WONDERFUL EASTER, EVERYONE, BLESSINGS AT THIS VERY SPECIAL TIME OF THE YEAR! XXX
Brilliant day, today, at the Ipswich "All About Dogs" fun doggie show... marvellous subjects everywhere. Last year this fellow took my imagination and this embroidery was the result! By the way, Mitty won 1st place in the "REAR OF THE YEAR 2014" competition - what a star! Another rosette to add to his collection!
... not long till Easter now, so let's start getting in the mood!
The long-tailed tits are building!!! Question (from the female): "Does my bum look big in this?"
There are a number of flowers which we do not necessarily think of as "bell" shaped, which require similar treatment: the pasque flower is a good example. Imagine it the other way up and you can see what I mean. The principle needed to work it satisfactorily is the same - work toward the central core and be VERY careful with your opposite angles. This is a cute study, with ladybirds and a few tiny sequins to suggest recently fallen raindrops.
Always a lovely subject, foxgloves can be one of the most challenging of the "bell" flowers. Narrow, upturned lips need to be worked in the "opposite angle" principle and then the inner throat with speckled seed stitches. The flowers mature down the stem, so there are always blooms in different stages on any one frond, which makes for an interesting study.
As promised .... Mitty's first look at the sea! (Oh, and by the way, yesterday he won TWO new rosettes at the first show if the year... third overall for best small dog and FIRST for best legs!!!)
There are so many, varied types of the "bell" shape in flowers. Here are some Imperial lilies... beautiful flowers but with rather an unfortunate, unpleasant scent, which, of course, worries us not one jot if we enjoy them in embroidery! As they open, long stamens emerge from each bell, and a wild crown of long leaf-like sepals rise above them. Truly regal looking flowers!
Those of you (like Betsy!) thinking that light and shade is the key are quite right... here, you can see how I have used a shadow line to suggest the element of each bell which is away from the "imagined" light source, and the direction of the stitches - very important in the little upturned tips of the petals - to capture the "real" light and give a three dimensional effect. More next time...
Looking at the bluebells in my garden, I was pondering why bell-shaped flowers are among the most difficult shapes to get right in embroidery. In Scotland harebells are called bluebells ("The Bluebells of Scotland"!) but the same is true ... a very tricky shape. Let's take a look at this type of flower over the next few posts ...
Colcards have just produced a wonderful new collection of fine art greetings cards featuring my work - 24 new designs in total, plus, of course, the existing ones. To see the full selection visit their website http://www.colcards.co.uk/shop/art-cards/helen-m-stevens
Just heard that the class I shall be teaching at Glastonbury in a couple of weeks' time is now fully booked. This is what we shall be doing... a griffon adapted from one of the ancient floor tiles in the Abbey. Split stitch and surface couching in gold passing thread.
Just had some LOVELY news... the birth of my first little great NIECE!!! An English rose for a new little English rose!! Welcome Jessica Anne!
Just returned from a lovely weekend by the sea on the North Norfolk coast. Absolutely beautiful weather and so wonderful to see the sea! Mitty's first visit ... will treat you to a photo soon! Meantime, here's a roseate tern ... from my book "The Embroiderer's Country Album". What a delicate and elegant bird it is; so ethereal. The sea is worked in long and seed stitch to capture the movement of the little breakers rolling in.
Here comes the weekend again... hope you all have a good one!!
More blossom, this time hawthorn and cherry ... there's going to be a marvellous "hedgerow harvest" later in the year if this carries on ... and the blossom is good for the butterflies, too. I have already seen brimstones. peacocks and a comma! Seems crazy to think about the autumn already, but I have just been invited to teach a mini-project at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in October!
The blossom is looking absolutely lovely this year - maybe it's the mild winter we have had, but I can't remember when it has been more abundant. Some of the finches - this is a goldfinch - are really naughty though: they just nip off the flowers for fun! This picture is a really nice exercise in contrasting colour - the vibrancy of the finch and the delicate pastel shades of the blossom.
Did anyone get caught out by an April Fool this morning? I nearly did... anyway, here's your calendar picture for April, from this year's desk top calendar, and since it's now past midday, I guess we are safe for another year!
It's always rather lovely when a picture is so perfectly suited to the time of year... this is a commission I have just completed for a client and it is such a great reflection of the season.. The magnolias are looking beautiful with no frosts to spoil them. They are a marvellous subject - look at those wonderful LONG stitches on the petals!!
Happy Mother's Day to all you lovely Mums out there!! Did you know that it is also official "Take a Walk in the Park Day", so what better ideas than to take your Mummy out for a stroll - which is exactly what Mitty did for me! Well, I am the Poodle's Mother!
You enjoyed the last one - how about another step-by-step? The fritillaries (my Daddy's favourite flower) in my garden are looking lovely just now: first use radial opus plumarium (with the core at the point where the stem attaches to the flower) in a pale shade to work the body of the main petals. Then in a darker shade "needle-weave" through the underlying stitches to create a brickwork (or "laddering") effect. Keep the needle-weaving as close as possible to being at right angles to the radial work. Repeat for the part petals showing lower down, but reverse the colour-way.