Leaves, Fabric Scraps and Stitching

I am revisiting the leaf theme I was working on the last time I posted here.  However now I am working with fabric, machine embroidery and handstitching.  I wanted a fairly simple idea that I could endlessly experiment with…and I would like to create a motif that can be used for different things.

My last blog was a year and 8 months ago!! largely because the focus of my attention has been on surface pattern design.  Basically surface pattern design is the designing of patterns for absolutely anything where a pattern is required from dress fabrics to wallpaper to crockery. This is a new direction for me and there has and still is a lot to learn.  

A couple of years ago, I returned to sketchbook work and I really wanted to be able to make more use of my drawings. I discovered digital pattern design and it provided me with the answer I was looking for. It has surprised me that I enjoy digital work so much…but I find it to be enthralling and the endless possibilities are exciting! 

So, I am now juggling my embroidery work with surface pattern design, however I try as much as possible to connect the 2 things and that is not hard to do.  After all, any sketchbook work I do for embroidery can easily be explored digitally and developed into a surface pattern and in fact I am hoping that the development of my signature style is distinctively informed by my work as an embroidery designer.

Nevertheless, on the whole I am going to focus on embroidery in this blog and I am working on a dedicated blog for surface pattern design (link to arrive shortly).

Therefore to continue, I have been exploring the combination of fabric scraps (re-using materials is at the core of my endeavour to be as ecologically-conscious as possible), handstitching (inspired by darning and Japanese Boro), freestyle machine embroidery and handmade felt;  because I love the quality as a base fabric for embroidery.

My plan is to try to refine my process as much as possible while simultaneously experimenting with many variations.  The leaf shape was chosen as a simple motif that I can apply different themes to.  For example my first designs are around the theme of ‘Springtime’ and I am using a colour scheme which, is quintessentially of this time of year.  The colours are of fresh green shoots, young leaves and blossoms in an array of pinks and lavenders. Creams and yellows complete the positive and hopeful energy of the colour scheme.

Pen Leaf Pattern on Crumpled Paper

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Crumpled Paper Leaf Shape with Pen

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Leaf Pattern and Water-Soluble Media



Pattern in Gold Line



Cellular Pattern






Winter Leaves



Inspiration for Winter Project




I have always found the sea to be such an abundant and enchanting source of inspiration.

For someone who works with textiles, as a theme it offers so much in terms of texture, colour, mood and pattern.

To me, the seaside can mean 2 things: either the subtle, understated but deeply haunting, sand or pebble coastlines of the UK, or the exotic, sandy beaches in hotter countries, where the waters shimmer with the brightest colours, exhibited in tropical sea creatures. Of course I am generalizing, but those are the associations I have!

Anyway back in January I decided that it had been far too long since I had explored the ocean in a textiles project, so I looked at lots of images of marine life online. I felt most drawn to corals because of their delicate, lacy patterns; jellyfish, because of the beautiful, dreamy and muted, transparent colours and the arrangement of fish scales in mesmerising iridescent and glittering colours. My aim has been to explore each of these qualities.

I began by drawing some of the patterns found in corals. To begin with they were hard to decipher, however with practice, I made more sense of them. It wasn’t long before the potential for patterns became obvious.

In terms of colour, I actually really like the fact that both incredibly intense colours are present, as well as more gentle pastel versions. I chose to use watersoluble pencils and watercolours to explore some of the strong colour combinations.

My next consideration was how to explore the addition of iridescent effects. I decided to experiment with metallic papers, crumpled and dry-brush painted.

I also painted on glitter paper with gesso, leaving areas unpainted to subtly reveal areas of sparkle.

I was most pleased with the effect created by painting on holographic paper.

As I am also very interested in transparency, I have also looked at how tracing and tissue paper can be used with colour.

Now I am working on combining these elements as well as considering ways I can use textile materials and processes.

Lourdes x

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