Embroiderers Guild Members’ Challenge: Tree Rhythms – Part 1

I took a leap of faith this year and decided to enter the Embroiderers Guild Members’ Challenge, and my piece is currently on it’s way to the Guild HQ  – the closing date is this Friday so I was pretty close to the wire in finishing it but then I’ve always been a last minute push kind of person!

I’ve taken photos of the embroidery in progress – from the first ideas to the finished piece – so I’m publishing them in parts as it would be a bit overwhelming all in the one post!

First off is a gallery of the trees that got me thinking of how to interpret the theme ‘Tree Rhythms’:

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I have to credit my dog for helping me along with this idea as it’s through our walks that I came across these tree carvings. He was busy having a mooch in the bushes and doing some serious nose mapping so I was gazing about waiting for him to get a shift on when I saw the ‘Steve ‘n’ Linda 1990-Forever’ carving in a tree trunk. I started thinking about who Steve ‘n’ Linda were, was their love forever? Was she there when he carved it? Did he carve it as a surprise for her? I wonder if they remember it’s here?

I started looking at all the trees I passed then, thinking of the people that have carried on the tradition of carving their name in a tree, wanting to leave a lasting reminder that ‘I was here’.

Did a Google search on tree carvings a few days later and found a fascinating blog post on what are technically described as Arborglyphs (or the name that sends my Sociological side all a quiver – “culturally modified trees”)

http://gardenhistorygirl.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/arborglyphs.html

After I read this, the idea of making an embroidery based on a culturally modified tree (that is the last time I’ll use the phrase, promise) was cemented in my mind.

I love the early stages of planning a new piece - so many questions but plenty of opportunities to try new techniques in an attempt to interpret the finished item that's in my minds eye!

I love the early stages of planning a new piece – so many questions but plenty of opportunities to try new techniques in an attempt to interpret the finished item that’s in my minds eye!

The close reader will see that I originally had a swastika as a possible addition to the embroidery – my thinking behind this was that people leave marks signifying hate as well as those of love. The swastika is a symbol that is as familiar to us as the shape of a love heart, both having the power to stir strong emotions within us. I decided to ditch the idea (I might return to it at a later date!) and go with one large Arborglyph instead:

A rough sketched design and more questions to mull over before I get cracking.

A few days later – 11 Jan 2014 – A rough design and more questions to mull over before I get cracking.

So I’ll leave it there for tonight and tomorrow I’ll post the first stage of the embroidery – creating the base fabric. Off to check the progress of my parcel on the Royal Mail website now!

Thanks for reading!

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