Thursday, 29 November 2012


No sun – no moon! No morn – no noon - No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day. No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, No comfortable feel in any member - No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! - November!
This (abridged) poem by Thomas Hood seems to encapsulate the way many people feel about the penultimate month of the year. I’ve been having some conversations with friends and customers recently which would certainly seem to suggest so! Some friends have suggested that everything always goes wrong in November, and one customer in the cafĂ© where I work wondered if it was in human’s mammalian nature to want to hibernate through the winter months; if perhaps the human race collectively has a mild form of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
In (dis)honour of this miserable time of year, I am currently working on an altered book. What To Look For InWinter, written by E.L. Grant-Watson and illustrated by C.F. Tunnicliffe, was first published in 1959 by Ladybird Books. It invites young people into the wintry natural world and reveals for them the surprising activity and vivacity of the winter months, beginning with the end of autumn and ending with the very onset of spring.
By today’s standards the book is rather quaint, but nevertheless utterly enchanting. It’s made me stop and consider the wonders of winter as well as the hardships.
Therefore, I am embroidering my own texts on winter on to some of the illustrative pages, taking care that these have an interplay with the images, and with the words which go alongside them. I see this as a collaborative effort between the original writer and illustrator and myself, to create a work which is almostpsychogeographical.
The book itself has been weathered (and indeed, looks wintered) over the years; one side of the front cover has been chewed up (whether by mould or an animal I’m not sure).
I feel as if there is a real dialogue opened up for me, and hopefully for readers and viewers, by this book; is “what to look for in winter” what to look out for in winter – sickness, depression, and doldrums, or is it what to look hard for in winter, in spite of this – the strange beauty in all its sparse desolation, and the promise of spring?

Monday, 26 November 2012

Commission Pt. II

Here is the second half of the embroidery commission I have been working on, finished this very night.
This second illustration accompanies the 1930s children’s story The Dawn Shops, in which Jessy takes a dose of soaring pills:
I’m very happy with the figure and the left hand side of the image, but less pleased with the cat; in fact, cats seem to have been intent on giving me trouble today; a big fat fluffy ginger puss kept sneaking into my garden when I wasn’t looking this morning.
Still, this has been a good learning process and the customers seem very satisfied with the result! I’ve really enjoyed stitching these gorgeous, delicate images, too.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Commission Pt. I

I’m very lucky to currently be working on an exciting commission, translating a couple of treasured children’s illustrations into stitch on gorgeous French lace handkerchiefs.
It’s remarkable how much the illustrative style suits my style of embroidery; it’s been a real pleasure to work on, and I’m sure its sister piece will be much the same.
The stories themselves are fantastical, charming, and rather hallucinogenic; rather more 60s than 30s (when they were actually written!)
During my project The Cure for Love, I adapted a similar children’s book illustration into a piece based on the 1945 film Brief Encounter:
I’ll have to keep an eye out for 1930s children’s picture books in my trips to second hand book shops from now on!
If you’d like to commission me to work on a piece for you, just drop me a line at, and I’ll work with you to create your own special embroidered art work, for you or a loved one.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Stitching, Witching, and Bitchin': Stitch Witches zine progress

Last Tuesday, Hannah and I regrouped to share where we’d gotten up to in creating our zineStitch Witches. More importantly, we met up to CRAFT (and eat junk food).
And craft we did! I created a new and improved version of my homage to Destiny’s Child to feature on a special page of the zine:
Much sweeter (pardon the pun) than the previous design, wouldn’t you agree?
Hannah, however, has been working much, much harder than me, creating patches and t shirts a-plenty:
Hannah gave me this fab Stitch Witches insignia to sew on to the back of my camo jacket!
The design on this t shirt will play a very special role in the revamped version of our Tumblr, which will allowStitch Witches everywhere to join in with our Textiles Worshipping Cult.
Hannah even turned a throwaway comment of mine on our day of crafting and cackling into a pretty rad patch:
now available for purchase here
I love the creepy font; almost reminds me of Chiller, which was everyone’s favourite gruesome typeface when I was at primary school! Was anyone else a fan in their misspent youth?
Next on my to-do list is making some special rosettes for our future stitchy witchy sisters!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Happy Belated Halloween!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Getting my stitch (and jelly) on

I’ve been in a bit of a creative rut this month just past. Whatever I’ve made (or haven’t made), I’ve never quite been satisfied with it. I’ve had an awful lot of ideas and projects on the go, but bringing them to fruition has been another matter.
I can attribute some of this to the weather; it seemed like one minute I was walking into work in summer dresses and cardigans, and the next was seriously considering investing in some thermals. The days got shorter and gloomier (in every sense!), which always seems to bring me down somewhat.
I feel that some of my lack of mojo, however, is to do with the predicament of every recent graduate; whither now? Will I ever “make it” to some extent as an artist? Will I ever have a steady job? Will I ever move out of my parents’ house?
Lastly, for the past week I’ve been battling with a horrific tummy bug. It’s been so long since I’ve had any physical ailment that I’d actually forgotten how paralysing it could be. Consequently, I’ve been off work, and getting down to work on creative projects has been equally difficult.
Today, however, the fog of ickyness seems to be lifting; I’ve been working on a commission for a colleague, doing very detailed, fine stitching. Hannah of Hanecdote is back from her holiday, and we have Stitch Witches plotting afoot. Speaking of, I may go and work on a little something for Stitch Witches right now…
But first let me leave you with a very silly (not to mention cack-handed) recent mock-up creation for a page inStitch Witches zine: