It has been a while since I last posted so I thought I would let you know what I’m up to at the moment. I have been doing some freelance work in the form of digitally embroidered samples, which was great fun…and there is still more to do, and I have been thinking about and drawing up a few new designs which I am very excited about. The picture shows a little preview; the original drawing for the design and some print outs of the designs put into repeat….which entails printing off lots of A4 prints and sticking them together with cellotape! It does give you a very good idea though for scale and colouring purposes.
The designs are based on classic crewel and Jacobean embroidery motifs. I know that this is nothing new in the textile world, but I am hoping to add my own unique take to the subject matter! I am very pleased with how they are coming along…a few more tweaks and then they’re of the printers. Watch this space….
My small embroidered cushions always draw attention when seen at exhibitions and fairs, and are one of my most popular items. The texture of the embroidery is what most excites people, and the embellishment of the linen with thread is a wonderful combination giving that texture, as well as colour, pattern and a reflective quality.
I am often asked about the embroidery, and how it is done. I do the embroidery with a digital embroidery machine, one in which I design the embroidery motifs, these then are translated to the machine and the machine then gets on with the job on its own, stitching the patterns onto the fabric (usually while I sit there mesmerised by the process, it’s very meditative! Although the whole idea is for me to be getting on with something else!).
I have several reasons for using a digital machine rather than free machining on a normal sewing machine. Firstly I actually love the texture of the stitch that the digital machine produces, its thick and raised from the fabric, with a wonderfully solid feel. I really don’t think I could get such a stitch quality as this personally if I was to embroider it myself on my sewing machine. The stitch also feels very durable, which is obviously advantageous for my cushions and their longevity, as well as the factor of time and economics. A shorter time in production is reflected in cushion prices, so that is also a big consideration.
So although I get a vast amount of pleasure free hand machining (where I manoeuvre the fabric myself under the sewing machine and ‘draw’ with the thread) I feel that using a digital machine for my cushions is the right course of action in this instant as I just love the stitch that the machine produces, and its quicker. I get very excited when I sit and watch the embroidery process, and see the floral patterns emerge with thread, it never ceases to thrill me!
Presently I have two embroidered designs on my shop page, and more will be added in time, do take a look 🙂
A photograph received from my brother last week has prompted me to write this latest post. It is of my father John Bury, and the photograph was apparently taken for Tattler Magazine in 1961.
So I thought that seeing as my dad had had such an interesting career, I would share a little bit of it here.
John Bury was a set, costume and lighting designer. He was born in 1925, and commenced his career in the theatre in the 1950’s when he started work with Joan Littlewoods Theatre Workshop. Subsequently he went on to become Head of Design for the Royal Shakespeare Company and for the National Theatre, from 1973 to 1985. He also created sets for the Royal Opera house and Glyndebourne. He worked closely with Peter Hall for most of this career.
In 1981 my father won two Tony awards for best set design and best lighting for the Broadways production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, although he was nominated for best costume design too! He received an OBE in 1979. I remember as a young girl of 9 going to Buckingham Palace with the family and watching him receive his metal from the Queen mum.
He died in 2000, and so it was such a thrill to see this early photograph of him, one that I hadn’t even seen before. He must have been aged 36, so it was taken before I was born which wasn’t until 1970; it is such a fabulous photo of him as he was starting out on such an amazing career.
My brothers and I had an interesting childhood too, there was a lot of travel! Memorably we spent time in Sydney where my parents (my mother helped my father) put on operas at the Sydney Opera House, we also had a fantastic time in Santa Fe where again they put on an opera at the opera house there. We also spent a lot of our childhood down at Glyndebourne. I must admit I did not take much notice of it all as a child, but I have grown to feel very proud of what my parents have achieved!
It has been a little while since I last wrote, and actually I find I have not too much to say, but I don’t like to see a blog or news page left too neglected.
I am busy though. Presently I am making up cushion covers for a large order from Switzerland, Zurich to be precise. I am waiting on fabric to be printed though. Each fabric order is getting tentatively bigger as I come to terms with the fact that a) it’s not good practice to run out of fabric, b) it seems that things are moving along nicely now since I took a stand at Top Drawer back in January and c) there is just no denying anymore that I can get away with keeping costs low by ordering smaller amounts of fabric. I have to be more aware of ‘economies of scale’! It is a young business and I am learning and gathering momentum continually.
Also in the pipeline is an exciting project that Mint gallery has asked me to be involved in. They have lengths of handwoven blue fabrics that were obtained from Jordan and they have asked a few textile designers, myself included, to each take away one of these lengths and make cushions or throws with the fabric, and each designer can basically do as they please with it. Exciting! The only stipulation was that the selvedges had to still be visible. The cushions will be on sale in their amazing gallery in Kensington later on this Spring. I will embroider on mine. I have a beautiful bluey grey length and I am envisioning adding orange thread, the orange of deserts and rock. More on this project later, with pictures of the finished products.
So presently, I am hunkered down here at home, cutting fabric, sewing and also trying to keep warm, it’s March but warmer weather still feels a while off yet.