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Embroidery – a general appreciation

March 28, 2022

Hi everyone. Before I present my post today, I feel like I would like to say a few words. The past few years for all of us have been difficult indeed. Having to deal with things that we could not have envisioned makes life both unexpected and traumatic. I am someone who tries to create a ‘safe space’ around me and also here on my blog, a place where people can visit and hopefully just lose themselves in the joys of art and creativity.

I don’t wish to discuss politics or news here, this isn’t the place for it and as it pervades every other aspect in my online and physical world, I strive hard to keep this place largely ‘news free’ and concentrate purely on the discovery of art and artists. The sharing of their skills and imagination is what drives me forward.

I am also a designer and creative who tries to give others, a sense of joy through my work, it’s rewarding for me when people take that away from my art and get a feeling of contentment when reading my posts. I think of myself as quite a sensitive person, who can get influenced emotionally by reading negativity in the news or hearing day after day of the disasters that occur, be they humanitarian, ecological or environmental. If I spend too much of my time reading about these things, I find that I can’t create the pieces that I strive to make, because my emotions aren’t in the right space to make them. I can’t ignore what is going on in the world or around me, but I choose not to introduce them into my work and I certainly limit my exposure to them on a daily basis.

I wanted to share these thoughts with everyone today just to say, that if you feel a similar ‘society pressure’ to be ever aware of the state of events going on around you, then don’t be. It’s ok to switch off the news, walk away from the headlines and take solice in nature or some book, piece of music or art that lifts the spirits. You know what you need to do to keep yourself on a calm plain.

We should not feel guilt by doing these things, we are all different and what works for one person will not be the same for another. Find your own way of getting solace in this life and when you do, cling onto it because it will be the soul-food that your inner self requires. I hope that resonates with some.

As is often the case with the research for my more general posts, they start off as one thing and morph into something else by means of distraction and falling down online rabbit holes (as I mentioned again recently). This post started out by looking at Embroidery within a Church setting, inspired by seeing a book released in the early sixties by Beryl Dean. Here’s a little of Beryl’s impressive work.

After that I started looking at other Embroidery from different time periods, countries and cultures. This is a mix of my visual meanderings. As a lot of the work I found isn’t credited, there are few references to their creators.

Birds and flowers appear to be very popular themes.

Some of the colourations and designs are so beautifully considered.

I love this row of rooftop birds and below another couple of fun pieces.

The influence of Swedish embroidery pops up again and again when looking at midcentury designs.

The company NIAB or Nordiska Industri AB (who also made rugs ) had a great design team and many of their sixties designs are being promoted by modern company Studio Flax (once Linladen). Owned by Tanja you can read more of the companies backstory here. Beautifully presented and using a backlog of 50 year old linen threads which are as good today as the day they were created.

Some of the original designs above and below.

The Studio Flax company provide a printed linen base cloth, a selection of coloured linen threads and stitch and colour reference information, to allow anyone to recreate these stunning midcentury designs.

Stunning colours don’t you agree ?

Finally I came across the delicate organic work of Japanese embroiderer Kazuko Aoki. Such a talented, popular Japanese textile artist whose work pops up in many embroidery magazines and exhibitions. Her delicate drawings are inspired by her great love of nature and the flowers in her own garden, which often provide the starting point for her creative designs. Kazuko loves to combine other embroidery techniques with cross-stitch to introduce a beautiful and unexpected element in her art and in the process create an original new style.

To me, they feel very relevant in today’s climate, a marked return to noticing the simplicity and beauty of the nature surrounding us all.

I hope that was a creative visual escape for everyone. Some stunning designs and ideas wouldn’t you agree. If this post inspired you today, please leave a comment or feel free to follow my blog or follow me here over on instagram . It’s great to hear your thoughts on my site and posts. Thanks Craig.

If you enjoyed this post you may also like to go here, here and here for more embroidery related information.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    March 28, 2022 9:36 am

    Thank you for the thoughtful intro.
    Good to know others feel the same.

  2. Sarah permalink
    March 28, 2022 10:43 am

    Hi Craig – an inspiring post! You’ve managed to squash the newsthoughts into a deeper recess of my head and fill the space with glorious embroidery designs, shapes and colour, so thank you. I’m struck by how universal is the creative need for pattern and colour and how we can be inspired by the work from such enormously diverse cultures. I’m a fan of Swedish mid-century embroidery and did a few samples for Linladan a while back, so I was really interested by your great images from that period. But it was actually your ceramics that caught my eye on Instagram (and led me here).
    I love your work – keep it up, please!
    Sarah (institchesallday)

  3. Heather O'Connell permalink
    March 28, 2022 11:37 am

    thank-you for a lovely interval in the day and taking the time to articulate so eloquently what we all should remember and embrace. Inspirational choice of images, some old and loved, some new and inspirational, both worthy of ‘rabbit holing’. Thank-you.

  4. Vivienne Goodridge permalink
    March 28, 2022 11:40 am

    Lovely, inspiring, peaceful blog. Thank you so much. It has cheered me up. I agree totally with your initial comments and as I’m recovering from Covid, know that I need to be in a gentle, kind place to get fully better. Think I’ll get my sewing project out!

  5. HMF from across the pond permalink
    March 28, 2022 1:17 pm

    Thanks for the post. You’ve boosted my creative interest and curiosity.

  6. Deirdre O'Sullivan from Australia permalink
    March 28, 2022 5:15 pm

    I agree, Craig – the world seems to have gone a bit mad in the last couple of years, and even more so, recently. It can be overwhelming at times. But never forget, that despite all the ugliness and horror, the world needs artists like you – to remind people of all the natural beauty in our world. Many people forget this truth, when they are dragged down by disaster – but it is up to artists like us to gently remind them that finding joy and delight in the beauty of nature is their birthright.

  7. Theresa permalink
    March 28, 2022 6:49 pm

    Craig, what a beautiful and heart-felt offering for everyone. The world needs this kind of energy. We need art but also the confidence to take it and absorb it into our beings as soul food and medicine. We cant change the big things but can influence our circle around us and that in turn ripples out. Your words are beautiful and will mean a lot to many people! Thank you. I love your blog.

  8. Carol A Elbert permalink
    March 28, 2022 7:15 pm

    What lovely images and thoughts! Thank you!

  9. Jacqui Mair permalink
    March 29, 2022 5:36 pm

    Wonderful inspiration thank you so much !

  10. Wendy permalink
    April 4, 2022 4:18 pm

    Craig.
    This lovely, deeply thoughtful post (along with my morning coffee) was the perfect way to start my day.
    I read every word, and enjoyed every beautiful photo, and then appreciated every comment.
    You brought us all together today; to remind us that we canNOT continually focus/be obsessed with all the horrid ongoings of the world.
    I look forward to each and every one of your posts.
    They bring me joy every single time.
    They remind me how I miss my ART.
    ART and Creativity do make the world a much better place.
    Again, Thank You for this post.
    Thank You for YOU. 🙏
    Wendy Connolly
    (all the way from Northern California)

    • April 4, 2022 5:01 pm

      Aww and I thank you Wendy. Your comments made me smile too today : )

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