Little Yellowhammer by textile artist Nicky Perryman

Little Yellowhammer

I started this artwork a while ago and came across it the other day. I felt it was lacking something so I added the little yellow finch – I guess you could call it a yellowhammer. I cut out a bird shape from hand-painted silk and bonded it on and stitched a bit of texture on with a quilting pre-programmed machine stitch. Then I added a lot of hand stitching using someĀ  dip-dyed threads – one of my favourites has a combination of brown, purple and yellow and I love the colour transitions that it makes. When it came to the belly and chest of the bird I had to choose the position of where I cut the thread carefully to get the right colour.

I’d started the piece with lots of pale colours like lemon yellow and pale coral so I tried to keep the colours gentle with pastel peach and sage greens however I ended up adding a bit more intense yellow and purple in the mix and some rust on the yellowhammer’s plumage. But then I softened them a little by overstitching with some paler colours. Blending, blending, blending is the name of the game.

Some elements are machine stitched, the beak and legs and some couching of threads in the background. I also did a bit of thread blending on the bird with some rust coloured thread just to make it stand out a bit more.

I added some little floral sequins to fill one of the chain stitch circles and in vertical lines to create the look of flower spikes. The yellow felt flowers are meant to be mullein flowers which I have a love for. I’d like to do more work with these magnificent plants in – they are just stunningly beautiful and majestic.

Little Yellowhammer detail by textile artist Nicky PerrymanI haven’t used tweed for a while and had forgotten how lovely it is to stitch into but it also frays like crazy so I had to used an emergency zigzag to stop losing the edges!

Normally I stretch my work over deep box canvases but I feel this piece would be better framed up conventionally so I will post a picture of it when it’s framed and ready.

Click on the images of the work in progress to see more 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. Marie Browne says:

    oh, how lovely! I saw an article in a magazine about your work. You are an artist of great vision.

    1. Avatar photo

      Thank you Marie. For some reason I only just saw your comment. Sorry I didn’t reply before. Which magazine did you see my work in? Was it Creative With Workbox?

  2. It is beautiful! I love the combination of machine and handstitch although you certainly did lots of hand stitch.

    1. Avatar photo

      Thank you Holly!

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