I only found out about “World Embroidery Day” from the Mahila Community on facebook a few days ago – it was started last year by the Swedish Embroiderer’s Guild Broderiakademin. Here is the Embroidery Manifesto (PDF file in English – opens in a new window). I love the emphasis on peace; in a turbulent world, creating for peace is a powerful message. As a textile artist specialising in embroidery, it is obviously a subject dear to my heart so I’m hoping this international celebration of embroidery will pick up momentum and become a day that many more people will celebrate each year.
So to celebrate the wonderful art of embroidery, here is a quick list of my favourite embroidery related things (not including kittens, mittens or copper kettles) and some inspirations and influences on my textile art journey. Next year I hope to do something a bit more substantial with a bit more planning and input!
Early embroidery influences: My incredibly creative mother, my needlework teachers at primary school, Coats embroidery booklets, Altair design pads.
Later embroidery influences: folk art and textiles of eastern europe, Peru, India, First Nations of America, fairy tales, Klimt, Gauguin, Russian artists too many to mention!
Favourite hand embroidery thread: hand dyed variegated stranded silk.
For machine embroidery: Sulky rayon 40.
Favourite fabrics to stitch on: Hand painted silk, wool felt, tweed, net.
Favourite embellishment: Sequins especially flower shaped ones!
Favourite hand stitch: Feather.
Favourite machine stitch: Free motion embroidery.
Favourite digitized embroidery: Blended colour fills.
Favourite embroidery book: Ann Woelders Stitchery Free Expression.
Favourite ethnic embroidery: There are so many to mention but my absolute favourites are the folk costumes from Transylvania, Romania; particularly the embroidery decorating the leather gillets and kaftans of the Carpathian mountain region.
Favourite museum for embroidery: The Victoria and Albert, London and the folk art museums in Bucharest and Constanta, both in Romania.
Why I love embroidery: Embroidery is my opportunity to play with colours and textures in an endless interchange and exploration. Embroidery fascinates, it satisfies my curiosity, yet makes me ask ever more questions. It is in my blood, it is what I do, what I feel, what I think. It is my means of expression, of reflection, of celebration. Stitches are my voice, my dance across fabric. Embroidery is who I am.
Have you celebrated World Embroidery Day? What did you do? I’d love to know what your favourites and influences are and why you love embroidery. Please post your comments below!