I recently completed a small embroidery commission for my friend, the weaver Jan Garside, who I’ve collaborated with before. She asked me to make some pieces based on Elizabethan embroideries at Hardwick Hall for a commission she was working on.
Jan & her finished pieces. Find out more about Jan & her work here.
This was an interesting project. I’m not a traditional embroiderer and although I started my textile career making historical reproductions, it isn’t the way I work now. These embroideries are inspired by Elizabethan stitches, rather than being replicas. I know plenty about Elizabethan embroidery and already knew the Hardwick textiles so had a good idea what Jan wanted when she first asked me about the commission, but I also knew I couldn’t make a reproduction. Working on a commission like this is a challenge, trying to make my own interpretation of the source material but also work within the brief given me by Jan, as the embroideries formed part of her work, with her name on caption. Luckily Jan and I have similar ideas, although different ways of working, and it helped that we had collaborated before. I enjoyed making these pieces enormously and intend to develop the ideas further in my own work, from the stitches used to the idea of working with lettering.
Note added: Some of the linen fabric I used was kindly donated by Scrapiana and came from her handmade wedding outfit!