Little Kingfisher Embroidery by Nicky Perryman Textile Artist

Little Kingfisher

Little Kingfisher painted outline by Nicky Perryman Textile Artist
Kingfisher outlined on silk.

This little kingfisher started out as a very vague silk painting. I used acrylic inks to create a mottled background and the rough outline of the bird. I wanted the bird to merge with the background to some degree, so I didn’t make the outline too crisp. I had an idea in my head of how I wanted it to look but as I worked on it, the fixed idea shifted and became instead a festivity of little stars, criss crossings and flecks all done with hand stitching. The body of the kingfisher is created with some scraps of¬† orange and blue silk, painted over in places with acrylic ink and some acrylic glazing. And then consolidated with free motion machine embroidery. The eye is finished off with a little sequin, the only one I have used in this work, unusual for me! I had planned to do lots of sequinning on it, but in the end I quite liked just letting the stitching speak without embellishment, however I started running over the edge as I find it hard to work on a small scale. Once I start doing feather stitch and seeding stitches, I find them quite addictive and I don’t want to stop.

There is something about the orange and blue combination of kingfishers that I particularly like. It’s so intense, so delicious, so jewel-like, so exotic when much of the English countryside has quieter colours. I am working on a larger kingfisher piece which I will discuss in another post. I don’t think I am done with the imagery of kingfishers yet, attempting to create that electric blue with subtlety¬† is something I want to explore further as well creating some semblance of glistening water. I think I need to go back to sketching to understand how to give the impression of light on water before I can create it with thread.

Little Kingfisher detail of embroidery by Nicky Perryman Textile Artist
Little Kingfisher (detail).
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Nicky Perryman

Hey, I'm a textile artist based in the UK. I like playing around with fabric paint, stitching both hand and machine embroidery and I have far too many sequins. I'm inspired by nature, its mysteries, subtleties, delights and complexities. The outer natural world has its counterpart in the inner spiritual world and I am also inspired by folklore, poetry, fairytales, stories of long ago when the spirits of nature seemed less shy than they do today, as well as my own shamanic journeys into the dreamland.


  1. Astrid says:

    I love your work. Its so vibrant and beautified with embroidery!!! I’m just about to learn about free machine embroidery and am researching sewing machines. Do you have any advice on which machine to buy? what do you use and do you have any tips regarding machines? I am considering a Bernina 570 but its sooo expensicve…. ! Also, does using acrylic inks on silk make the fabric stiff?
    which country are you in? I would love to hear from you, and will be looking out for your work, its stunning. Thanks, Astrid

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      Hi Astrid, re sewing machines I’d recommend getting a Bernina or a Husqvarna. I have two husqvarna machines. Bernina are an excellent make and will last a lifetime, well worth the investment. Acrylic inks do change the handle of the fabric to some extent but not massively, as they are very watery. It depends on the fabric. As I’m using them for textile art which will be stretched on a canvas, I’m not that bothered about the feel of them. If I were using them for a fine silk scarf then I would probably think twice. I am in the UK. Thanks for the compliments on my work, it’s always lovely to get such feedback. I’d love to see some of your embroidery. Do keep in touch and wishing you all the best, Nicky.

  2. I, too, really like the colors you’ve chosen and the way you have integrated the bird with the background. As for being addicted to certain stitches, I am guilty, too. I can get carried away with French knots.

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      Hi Linda
      thanks for your lovely comment. I love french knots too. I love your work. The colours and textures are really subtle. Just beautiful.

  3. Penny says:

    Very beautiful Nicky. I am a keen stitcher myself and so admire what you do. Your colours are beautiful. I love the way you integrate background with foreground……Just lovely! An inspiration.

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      Thank you Penny! I would love to see some of your stitching. What kind of things do you do? Love Nicky.x

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