Thursday, October 4, 2012


The third design in my range of embroidery kits is a tree.  This is the easiest of the 5 and would be an ideal project for a complete beginner. I only used running stitch and straight stitches with beads as embellishment, but it's up to the stitcher as to which stitches they want to do, of course. 

I'd like to share the origins of this design, even though it has evolved so much and looks very different to the first one I made 3 years ago.  It started as a very personal project but I would like to talk about it here because I am always interested in other artists' process and inspiration.  Besides, the person who inspired it was very special and I would like to remember him here. In 2009 my cousin Hugo passed away in a microlite accident on his farm in South Africa and I found it very hard to deal with it because I was so far away.  One night I felt compelled to draw this little tree to symbolise his death (the fallen leaves), but also new beginnings in the form of blossoms on the tree. You see, his fiancee was pregnant with their first (and of course only) child. I made it into a little embroidery you can see over here and found the process very cathartic. While the design had a sad origin, I look at that hoop with fondness and know that it helped me to work through something really difficult.

Trees have always been symbolic of life.  I hope that everyone who stitches up one of these has a story to relate it to: a new baby, a change of direction, a new skill learnt.


Julie said...

What a lovely but sad story Heleen - thanks so much for sharing it. I too am always interested in what lies behind other artists inspiration. I am loving your new designs - keep up the great work, Hugs, Julie :-)

Deniz Bevan said...

A tree is a lovely image to use. I shared your post with my mother as well.

She's actually been doing embroidery for a little while now, and she was wondering if you could recommend the write sort of pen/marker with which to trace designs?

Ruby in the Dust said...

Thank you so much, Julie and Deniz :)

Deniz, I've used those washable fabric markers but they don't always disappear completely (especially if you iron over the marker!). you could also use a very fine pencil or permanent marker with very fine tip, look at this one for example: