Monday, 1 February 2016

Hearts and Flowers


I started 2016 in a positive frame of mind; determined not to let the January Blues set in. A surprise contact from a soap making magazine wanting to feature a picture of my handmade soaps for their front cover got the year off to a good start (more on this later), and my thoughts turned towards plans for soaping and growing my herbs and flowers.

Unfortunately an annoying injury that had been nagging me at the end of last year flared up with a vengeance and halted almost any activity that required movement of my left arm. This included lifting, dressing, vacuuming, typing, driving, gardening and basically most day to day activities. An hour spent gingerly pottering in the garden left me writhing in agony on the floor trying to ease the searing red-hot poker-like pain from my neck and down my arm. My prospective plans for gardening and creating in the year ahead were in jeopardy.
Happily a trip to the back clinic, vast quantities of pain relief rubs and a conscious attempt to rest and gently exercise my arm are lessening the pain, though it has by no means disappeared!
Although seriously limited in what I have been able to do, (such a nightmare for an active person) I have discovered that if I rest my arm and have support behind my neck and back, I can still indulge my creativity and engage in a non-energetic activity that I had begun experimenting with a little while ago.

I have a passion for flowers; not only growing and working with them, 


but also capturing images of them. 

While I would love to portray them on canvas, my painting skills are mediocre, and to be fair I don’t experiment enough with a paintbrush (unless it is the decorating form of paintbrush; after several years of renovating La Petite Maison I am undeniably proficient with that type of painting!).

However I love needlework and the idea of “painting with my needle” inspires me. Using the idea of the key fobs that I stitched some time ago, I began to scribble little sketches of flower formations from the garden, allotment and my excursions. On scraps of old linen I transposed my design and with tiny stitches the flowers began to form and grow.

My little needlework pictures are more Impressionistic than exact; the image of the flowers transferring from what I visualise in my mind - through to my fingers and then my needle; evolving on the linen as I colour it in with thread.

The first design emerged from the wild daisies I snapped whilst in Guernsey.


The little hearts are filled with lavender and herbs harvested from the garden and then dried.

I used the same design for a larger natural linen heart.

The second design was based on the flowers that grow profusely in the garden;

Verbena Bonariensis and Knautia Macedonia.

The third heart was a larger striking design inspired by the dark coloured poppies


 that grow at the allotment.

The last key fob heart (and so far my favourite) was embroidered with Foxgloves and Cow Parsley also found scattered around at the allotment.

My most recent creation was taken from a picture from Caroline Zoobs Handstitched Home book that had prompted me to take an interest in embroidery to start with.

Wildflower Meadow

I am still hopeful of attending one of her workshops to develop my embroidery skills, but until then I will keep practicing and I have actually found that transferring the images of flowers by means of stitches onto fabric to be quite addictive. 



So as I sit back on the sofa (with my arm supported) and listen to the theme tune to Dances with Wolves on Classic FM while rain dances on the window panes, I am surprisingly content as I quietly stitch my Hearts and Flowers.

xxx

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