Where do you find inspiration for your embroidery projects? I suppose inspiration can really be found anywhere, but I like to look at other textile designs, wallpaper designs, tile designs, wrought iron designs, and on and on and on.
One of my favorite artists (actually, an architect) from the past – Augustus Pugin – happened to leave behind a massive legacy of textile, wallpaper, tile, and all kinds of “decorator” items that are suitable for adaptation to embroidery. I especially like looking at Pugin’s tile designs, but his wallpaper patterns, stained glass, furniture, textiles, and metal work all give plenty of play room for the imagination, when thinking in terms of embroidery design.
You can squiz the internet for Pugin’s work and come up with myriad photos that display mostly bold colors and deep contrasts in design – with relatively simple lines. Because I was looking for a very simple pattern that could demonstrate darned fillings (running stitch worked into patterned fillings), I turned to right away to Pugin. Among the places to which I ventured was The Textile Blog, which is a great informational blog on All Things Textile. I came across the image above, which is one of Pugin’s wallpaper diaper designs.
I converted the design to a line drawing, which was a really simple process, thanks to the simplicity of the design and the contrast in color.
As a line drawing, you can see that the design does indeed make a simple pattern – but a good pattern for embroidery that might involved voided areas and a patterned background, or patterned areas and a voided background. Once I started looking at the design as a line drawing, Colbert embroidery jumped into my mind. What about whitework or pulled thread embroidery? They’d work, too. The design is completely adaptable to all kinds of uses.
If you like this kind of design and can see how it could be used for your own needlework, you might want to look up Mr. Pugin and see how his work inspires you. You can search for Pugin on Flickr and come up with heaps of photos of Pugin pieces. You can also do an image search on Google and come up with plenty of adaptable possibilities.
I searched “Pugin tiles” in Google images and came up with too many pretty things to count!
My favorite Pugin art resource is the Victoria & Albert Museum. If you search the collections at the V&A using “Pugin” as your search term, you’ll hit the jackpot!
Playing with Pugin’s artistic creations is fun, and it really gets the juices flowing if you’re looking for embroidery design ideas.
If you’d like the PDF of the above line drawing, here ’tis:
Who (or what) inspires your embroidery?