In the days when I could hold a needle comfortably I did a lot of embroidery of different types. I have also always taken photos. One day I thought I would try combining the two. In those days (the 1980s and 90s) it was not easy to get the photos on to the fabric, but now that it can be done easily with a home printer and an iron, I thought I would show you what I was doing back then.
The idea came to me after seeing the local (Dover) print shop putting photos on t-shirts. I thought it might work to put photos on to other fabrics. They were happy to try, and it worked! I used bought and hand-dyed wool, cotton and silk threads of varying thicknesses, bought from many different places.
My first attempt was this one (still one of my favourites!).
The photo is of the Callanish stones on the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. In those days, when there were very few coach tours and tourists, you could wander amongst the stones – it was a magical place.
The obvious thing to do with this picture was to embroider the central stone. But then I thought it might be better to leave that one alone, and enhance the others.
At the same time I did another from the Western Isles, this time from Harris. A road had been built along the east coast of the island, in an attempt to bring prosperity to that area. The land is low-lying and very boggy so was very expensive to build. That led to the local nickname for the project – the Golden Road! It is an achingly beautiful place, with hundreds of lochans, lochs and inlets separated by rocky outcrops.
This next one was taken about 50 yards from where we lived at the time. On 6th May 1994 they ran a steam-hauled Golden Arrow from London to Dover as part of the celebrations for the opening of the Channel Tunnel. In the age of steam this was the train which ran every day taking first class passengers from the heart of London to the dock in Dover. There the passengers could step off the train and across the ‘platform’ on to the gangway of the ship which then took them over to France, where another train, La Flèche d’Or, was waiting to take them on to Paris. There is a bridge over the railway at Dover station, which at the time had a broken window right over the track where the engine, Britannia, was waiting to continue her journey. It was raining, and dark, and the stop was unscheduled, so Nick and I had the bridge to ourselves!
I also played with black and white images on to coloured fabric. Winter trees…..
… and spring lambs were ideal for this treatment.
After my first trip to North Ronaldsay, I HAD to do another sheep one, this time of a North Ronaldsay ewe. By then I had learned to spin, and so I used hand-spun yarn in a variety of colours for the fleece.
Finally, for now, one from a session I did taking pix of a friend’s grandchild. Goldwork was called for here, both couched and stitched! This is another favourite – the untidy hair and determined look contrasting nicely with the halo and wings!