Wednesday, 22 September 2021

'Elements of Nature'


‘Elements of Nature’ is my largest textile piece in international exhibition Texnet2 at Carrefour Européen du Patchwork 2021 and also the largest piece I have ever tackled!
It is 80cm x 150cm and I dread to think how many hand stitches over the months of making. Many times I asked myself what had I started . . . but it was still a total joy to make and I loved every minute.

‘Elements of Nature’ is the four elements - Fire Earth Air Water

The background is vintage cotton and silk noil that I dyed naturally with flowers, leaves and some rust.
I added antique lace top and bottom to bring some history and lots of texture and because I always find a way to include lace ! To make it easier to handle and as it was stitched on my lap I made the decision to work on it in four parts. So after carefully stitching my full background in place I took out a big sharp scissors and cut in quarters to be carefully rejoined later !!

For the element Air I stitched two birds.
A Bluebird for the lightness of air and blue of the sky and a Dark bird for the strength of the wind.

I drew the basic outlines and then filled and layered with thread.
Hand stitching is a slow process but I love the control I have to build up the shades.
I stitched the birds separately and then added to the background.

For the element Earth I choose to stitch one of my favourites, seedpods.
I stitched lots of bullion stitches and french knots to give very dense detail.
I cut small circles of silk for detailed colour flashes . . . and a little more antique lace!

The stems of the seedpods are overlapping sari silk strips and dyed scrim and couching stitch on top of that. Lots of detail.

Also included in the Earth element are some mushrooms.
More of my dyed silk and again I stitched separately to add to background later.
The mushrooms needed to have a small bath in watercolour to give them shading.
First time I painted a mushroom ! (And I added antique lace of course.)

For the element Fire I stitched fireflies.
I researched these tiny creatures - they are very magical.
These are my versions of them and my two birds were given the task to catch some in a jar!
The jar is made with antique netting that was part of an Edwardian wedding dress.

For the element of Water I stitched two fish in a little pond.
Lots of antique netting to soften the blue of the water as it was standing out too strongly.
Their pond is surrounded by deeply dyed silk noil and I added naturally dyed prints taken from leaves.
Yes there was a lot of dye pot days before I ever started stitching this large piece !

The many different sections were finally linking together  . . . and I used one needle for it all.
The needle and I deserve a rest !


  1. Oh, this is simply incredible! You are a great artist!

  2. Wow! Just Wow! Truly art as well as amazing craft. Thanks for sharing, to inspire us all.

  3. I fllow you on Instagram, but please, don't leave your site. We are so happy to read you...........Thanks!!