If you’re like me, when you look at a piece of thread painting (also called needle painting, long and short stitch shading, etc.) that’s really well done, you can find yourself lost in the details, color contrasts, individual stitch placement, and all the elements that work together to make the piece a work of art. Thread painting, when done by a true artist, is a source of delight and awe for me. This is certainly the case with this very special gift I received in the mail this week.
Much to my delight and suprise, a package arrived for me halfway through the week. Can you imagine how excited I was to see an envelope arriving from Trish Burr in South Africa? She sent me one of her own works of art!
I want to show it to you up close.
This is the piece. You can be that I’m going to frame it and hang it in a prominent place of honor!
What particularly amazes me about the finished piece is how the contrasting colors work together to make the whole piece come alive. The colors in the piece, on each element – whether flower petal, leaf, or bud – are really amazing.
The flower moves from a bright white on the tips to a deep purple in the center, but that depth of color is achieved not just with the plum colors. Looking closely, you can see browns interspersed that give shadow and dimension to the petals.
If you look in the lower right corner of the above photo, you can see the brownish greys in there, shadowing the petal above.
In the leaves, you can see the same – the turnings on the leaf are made real by the masterstroke of the artist’s ‘brush’ (a needle and thread, in this case), placing just the right color at just the right spot.
Look at the perfect stitch direction in every element!
Each row of stitches works perfectly into the next, blending the colors together.
All the details – the little white flower accents, the sprays of tiny leaves and bullion knots, the round buds – are fascinating.
These tiny buds have no less than four colors in that small space! The edge of the embroidery is smooth and slightly raised.
The white flowers with their little golden centers seem to pop up from the picture.
Step back and look at the whole piece – the artist’s touch brings the embroidery to life!
Oh boy. I don’t grow tired of looking at pieces like this, do you? I look in wonder, and then I remind myself that I have a heck of a lot to learn!
Thank you, Trish, for your gift! It’s a treasure!
If you’re interested in learning long and short stitch shading from a master, do check out Trish Burr’s books on the topic. She has three of them: Long and Short Stitch: A Collection of Flowers; Redoute’s Finest Flowers in Embroidery; and her latest, Crewel and Surface Embroidery: Inspirational Floral Designs (in which you will find the project for the piece I’ve shown you above).