I've been collecting old fabric for years (lots of old bed Italian bedsheets from my mother-in-law) and they were all stashed downstairs in a plastic box. One day in June I had a sudden stroke of inspiration (brought on by the fact that I bought two embroidery hoops and a small pack of threads from an art shop in New York a month earlier) and decided to use the fabrics to appliqué.
Then along came Lilla's July Bootcamp assignment! Create a piece of artwork based on beverages in any way you like. Make it personal to you - a gift to yourself or a friend!!! I was sat there reading the assignment with an embroidery hoop in my hand and a coffee right in front of me. I was drinking from one of my beautiful cups that my Mom bought me. Most of them are shades of blue, green, mint and aqua - as are many things in my house - and so were my old Italian bed sheets. I thought - I know what I'm going to do.
I didn't sketch or plan. I just chopped out my shapes, stuck them on with glue stick and an iron and stitched away. It just grew. I parked myself in front of the telly and found myself truly relaxed and happy.
I love Lilla's assignments. I love the variety, the ingenious subject matter, her ability to draw you away from the tried and tested and try the new, the exciting. This brief enabled me to rediscover a way of creating art and develop a real enthusiasm and passion for it. I can't stop! I'm carrying that embroidery hoop wherever I go. So far it's been to Ponza and Tuscany and tomorrow it's coming to England with us.
On the way home from Tuscany last week, just me and the kids, I saw a sign for Orvieto and asked the kids if they'd like to stop by on the way home. It's an old walled Medieval town. I've been there before years ago. It's beautiful. They, of course, said no. So I ignored them and drove there anyway.
The main street leads up a steep hill and they moaned incessantly as we trudged along in the midday sun. In the end they forced me to turn back round and head back to the car. By this time I was carrying my three year old. As we plodded down the hill I noticed a shop window full of sewing equipment. You don't see that often in Italy so we went to have a look! It was an Aladdin's cave!!! I asked for embroidery threads and the lovely old shop owner started to show me drawer after drawer of threads - every single color in existence. Isadora suddenly became interested when she saw the colours and Leo was happily chatting to some accessories on a stand behind us. I thought I'd pick maybe 15 colors at first and was fairly restrained throughout the blues but by the time we'd reached the orange drawer I was deranged!!! By the time we'd been through all 400 of those in stock, I'd picked 80. Isadora was beaming at the decadence of it all - at me grabbing handfuls of colours and the little old man bringing out more and more!
Ha ha! Look at these beautiful colors. This is my new stash!
And this is the lovely shop owner and his wife. I wanted a picture to remember the moment. Orvieto's Willy Wonka of embroidery threads who turned our crappy day into a beautiful one!