Embroidery on leaves
Mixing leaves and hand embroidery stitches were where my current embroidery designs began. Leaf art is a medium that has been growing in popularity in past years and I can see why as there is something so satisfying about embroidering into them.
I began embroidering leaves when my daughter was a toddler as we foraged for flowers for her press and to pass the time. I’d left a busy full-time job in media and was a bit lost about what I wanted to do next. Embroidery on leaves was a natural progression from flower pressing to how I could mix flower pressing with hand embroidery.
I loved embroidery as a teenager and had ideas about using it in a contemporary way. My flowers were far too delicate to stitch, I tried and failed, so I looked at other natural materials to act as a canvas. At the time, my neighbors had this huge bush in their garden, which dropped fabulous brown waxy leaves over my fence. I loved their natural organic forms and wrapped them with little stickers printed with lovely small-scale paper prints. They were perfect.
It was at this time that I discovered the crocheted leaf art of artist Susana Bauer who really opened my eyes to the contemporary possibilities of mixing crafts and nature together. Like Susana, I wanted to do embroidery on leaves which I chose to do with a fine cotton thread. I loved the process of stitching through the crunchy paper and leaves. I chose words to write on my little strips of paper with a felt marker which resonated with my day-to-day with a young toddler. The checked printed papers, polka dots, and felt tips pens mirrored the naivety of my days.
However, the limitations of embroidering on leaves led me to find another way to use my pressed flowers. I knew I wanted to use the great resource of natural materials that I’d collected and dried. That’s when I experimented with digital printing to preserve every delicate colour and organic detail.
So that’s how my current museum-quality paper embroideries were born!