Inspiration for the art work
Yes I must admit I have a bit of an obsession with both goldfinches and pomegranates! I love goldfinches because they are such gorgeous little birds, with the flashes of lemon yellow on their wing bars and their multicoloured heads. And I think they go well together with the lush red and gold of pomegranates. I would say actually that pomegranate juice is my favourite beverage. In Morocco, street sellers press the fruit right in front of you and a fresh glass of ruby red nectar is dirt cheap and incredibly refreshing on a hot day. It also has a slew of amazing health benefits. I could drink it by the bucket load!
This embroidery of a goldfinch with pomegranates was in part inspired by another favourite: one of my beloved inspirations; the artist Giovanna Garzoni. She was an Italian painter of the 17th century patronised by the likes of the Medicis. She used gouache on vellum to depict the most exquisite Still Life paintings of herbs, flowers, fruits and the occasional little bird or insect.
Techniques and Materials
I did go through a few machinations with my composition for this one. I was going to add in a lot more fruit and a couple more birds but then I decided to keep it simple. I created the pomegranates by painting on silk which had been doodled on ages ago. (Not sure what I was thinking at the time!). I used Liquitex acrylic ink markers to express the speckled pomegranate skin. They are really fun to use on silk and I’m totally in love with the neon colours of pink and orange. Once I’d got the fabric suitably layered with pigment, I added some transfer foil. Next came the machine stitching and then finally sequins. The sequins were sewn on by hand. The translucent red sequins are the “gem” type with a raised surface which means that have little facets on to catch the light, a bit like pomegranate seeds.
I embroidered the goldfinch onto a base of painted silk using a mixture of silk appliqué, free motion embroidery and a bit of hand stitching with floss thread. The hand stitching really added a bit of texture and some of the finer detail of the little white wing dots. They are tricky to sew by machine and I didn’t want them to sink into the background fabric too much.