Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Embroidery and Me

I am going to teach embroidery at Pimp Your Wardrobe so I thought I'd write a little bit about my experience of it. I have grown up surrounded by embroidery. When I was a child my mother sent off for an embroidery kit of massive proportions from Good House Keeping magazine. It was a bedspread with squares arranged in a grid resembling a vegetable garden. Each square containing rows of different veg. Caulies in one, spuds in another. I don't remember her ever embroidering anything before. Or sadly since. My father inspected her first attempts at a tomato and promptly took control. The result was spectacular. Snails crawled from behind crisp lettuces, butterflies alighted on courgette flowers and goldfish darted around the ornamental pond, a fountain playing prettily in it's centre.
That was it. He was off. This was the 70's. The next thing we knew we journeyed  to London and were taken to one of the big department stores. We queued to have our photo taken by a machine that printed out the results using the symbols of the typewriter keyboard to represent the different tones of our faces. My father then painstakingly translated this into embroidery charts and lovingly embroidered a portrait of each of us. I have the one of my mother and here it is.

This happened decades before the amazing software we have today which allows you to scan in any photo or picture you like and at the press of a button an embroidery chart slides out of your printer. Ever since then he has continued to embroider and spends hours, days and weeks embroidering pictures using minute stitches with hands that have spent decades on building sites laying concrete and tiling roofs.

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