News / nature

  • The Moon, the Elephant and the Atlas.

    Hi everyone! Remember me? I’m still here, and I’ve not been idle. What I’m sharing with you today is some backgorund info on some amazing and beautiful creatures that I have the good fortune of having the pleasure to embroider for a lovely private commission I’ve landed. I am creating a framed piece depicting 3 of the most beautiful moths in nature. It’s funny – when I decided to start accepting commissions I was very clear I didn’t want to be an ‘embroiderer for hire’ and would only accept work on the basis that it inspired me; as such I...

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  • Stumpwork Willow Branch

    I know I seem to always say this, but I’m really pleased with the way this one turned out. When I had decided on the construction I thought that as it was going to be so simple, it might not be so effective. I also wasn’t sure about how the detached woven picots would behave as willow leaves, and whether they would give that twirly, tendril-like appearance. They are in fact infinitely poseable. I wanted to achieve with this piece that soft, falling, almost ethereal quality that white willows have in the spring. And I’m also really happy that it...

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  • Birch – Herb Lore

    The Birch tree is a truly beautiful and very magical tree indeed. One of it’s folk names is ‘Lady of the Woods’, and it’s not much of a struggle to see that being silvery in appearance, it has lunar, and therefore feminine associations. In Tarot Birch corresponds to the Star, and also to Venus in planetary realms. Birch is a tree of strong Druidic Ogham associations and indeed it represents beginnings, and is the first Moon of the Celtic year (24th December – January 21st). It is one of the nine sacred woods of the beltane fire, and one of...

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  • Making the Mandrake

    I had fun making this little chap. I knew instantly exactly how I wanted to create it. I was going to blog this in two goes but life is crazy at the moment so it’s a one hit wonder. Hope you like it! I bought some special silver plated copper wire. It’s 0.2mm thick and to be honest probably slightly too thin to be flexible yet firm enough to be controlled easily. But the stuff I had already was too thick and I ended up with this: Just a bit too chunky. So I made this little wire mandrake frame...

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  • Mandrake – Herb Lore

    This was probably my funniest moment of all Harry Potter films. When they pull the Mandrake out for repotting. Ooo! Mandrake! Squeel! Everyone seems really excited for me to make this one. Whenever I’ve mentioned it on Facebook or to my friends they’re all like ‘Gasp! Madrake! Yea Cool!’ and stuff like that. Atropa mandragora, or Mandragora officinale. Some of my fave folk names include Brain Thief, Hexenmannchen (German: Witches’ Mannildn), Zauberwurzel (Sorcerors Root), Raccoon Berry, Satan’s Apple and Herb of Circe. It has soooo much lore around it. Holla! Mandrake belongs to the Nightshade family and contains deliriant hallucinogenic...

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  • Oak – Herb Lore

    The mighty Oak tree. Quercus alba. The King of Trees (one of them at least), with a long history of folklore throughout Europe. Sacred to Jupiter, Thor, Zeus – all the big guns of the pantheon, and with powers of protection, healing, prosperity, fertility fortune. Traditionally there have been four main uses of oak, and this usefulness reveals why the oak would become so important and sacred. The most prominent use is as a timber tree. Oak was a highly prized timber and was particularly used in ship building in the days of wooden ships, buildings, for furniture etc. The...

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  • Hawthorn – Herb Lore

    To kick off with my first new embroidery project of 2013 I thought I ‘d start a new series of posts exploring some of my favourite folklore and facts about the magical and poisonous plants that are inspiring me at the moment. One of the things about my upbringing that I am most grateful for is that I was taught to recognise trees and birds. This grounding grew into a love for nature and a desire to recognise common British plants, trees and animals. I was surprised when I met my husband that he didn’t know what an Oak tree...

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