World Embroidery Day 30th July 2013

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.

Favourite contemporary textile artists: my new found inspirations are Henriette Ousback  and Charlotte Ziebarth both for their fresh and modern approaches to stitching.

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!




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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. Jeri Oswalt says:

    Nicky I think you should come celebrate World Embroidery day in Oregon next year. We could plan a wonderful event. While there are a few City and Guild graduates here, most Americans think embroidery is cross stitch or Grand ma’s dish towels.

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      Sounds like a good idea Jeri! I’d like to blast the dishcloth thing right out of the water!

  2. I am just getting back into embroidery and I think a special day for it throughout the world is awesome! Love your work!

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      Hi Marian, thank you! Yes it is awesome, I hope we can all whip up some special events and interest next year and really make it something wonderful year on year!

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