My partner has safely received the hoop I made for the #veryberryhoopswap, so I can tell you a bit more about the inspiration behind it.
In her ‘likes’ on the swap form, My partner mentioned that she is a fan of classic horror writers like H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, and because that was something totally outside my usual influences I really wanted to run with it. I wondered about a raven, because of Poe’s famous poem (coincidentally, I had just watched the very silly Simpsons episode The Treehouse of Horror, which includes the poem, read by the awesome James Earl Jones, with my kids), but decided that might be a bit outside my embroidery abilities. I might have managed The Simpsons’ version, but I didn’t think that was quite what my partner would want!
Whilst searching for images of The Raven, I came across amazing work by the artist Harry Clarke, who illustrated Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination.
After that, I just rushed round the internet, looking at more of Clarke’s work (and realising that I had seen his stained glass – his other speciality – in the church where my sister-in-law got married) and getting carried away with ideas. You can see why, I hope.
But when you are working with a tiny hoop, you’ve got to be sensible… so in the end I decided to just focus on a small and simple detail that would hopefully capture a bit of the spirit of Harry Clarke’s macabre Arts and Crafts illustrations.
See that flower on the left, about a third of the way up, with lots of petals? Making use of that seemed achievable, so, I enlarged it a little, traced it, then traced it again, with space between all the petals. Then I traced that design onto Bond-a-Web and iron the Bond-a-Web onto a tiny piece of a grey Liberty print called Reiko. I cut out the tiny pieces (difficult!) then applied them, piece by piece to the charcoal linen (fiendish!). The easy bit was the stitching. I used very thin metallic silver thread, and I wish you could see the sparkle because it looks pretty good.
I had a lovely thank you from my partner today, and I was so excited to know that she had loved Harry Clarke’s illustrations as a child. So pleased I guessed right with my inspiration. It’s been a really happy swap for me, I hope the other swappers have enjoyed it as much.