Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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The Embroidery Designer’s Most Difficult Job


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I’ve fallen victim to a new stitching addiction, and it’s making it very hard to tear myself away from embroidery these days, even to concentrate on other website-related and workroom-related activities.

There’s a new version of Needle ‘n Thread coming out, for example. Yesssss! The All-New Needle ‘n Thread is almost ready to launch!

But have I been paying attention to that lately?

Noooooo. I’ve been stitching!

And my workroom! Remember that book mess? Have I figured out how to conquer it yet?

Noooooo. Because I’ve been stitching.

I can’t seem to stop stitching.

Kaleidoscope Embroidery Design in Silk

I love being super-focused on embroidery projects. When I’m this focused, I can pretty much put everything aside in favor of my needle and thread. Any worries…any chores…laundry…eating…drinking… piffle!

When I fall asleep at night, I’m thinking about embroidery. I dream about it. And when I awake, there it is again, in my head – with solutions and new ideas to jot down before the day begins.

To sum it up in two words, it’s a kind of Creative Vigor that’s overtaken me.

Right now, I’m concentrating with a fury on some new embroidery projects for Needle ‘n Thread. You can see an excerpt of one of them above.

I’m calling the series Kaleidoscopes.

And I love them! They’re fun. They’re addictive. They’re open to interpretation. They’re relaxing. They’re just… swell.

Naming Embroidered Works

But I’m Such a Dolt when it comes to naming things.

Naming embroidery projects is part of the designer’s job. It’s not a part we as consumers ever think of, but I’m convinced that naming a project – usually in order to write about it, display it, or market it – is possibly the embroidery designer’s most difficult task.

Deep down, I’d like pretty, individual names for each Kaleidoscope in the series. And I’d love to have a series of names that all go together but that represent, somehow (at least in my mind), the different designs.

But, like I said, I’m a dolt when it comes to naming things!

So I sat down with my niece Anna, who shares, in part, my sense of humor (poor girl), but who tends to be a little more refined than I am in many ways. She’s got a more “delicate” approach to things, whereas I generally don’t.

We brainstormed.

Summoning all my brain cells and every bit of verbal creativity congealing in my noggin, I concentrated really hard and came up with this brilliant naming solution:

Kaleidoscope One.

Kaleidoscope Two.

Kaleidoscope Three.

Anna, on the other hand, came up with a much more appealing suggestion, which almost meets exactly what I would like in a series of names. I’m not going to mention it just yet, but it’s a great idea. It…sings!

But, being the brilliant person that Anna is, she also came up with this idea: “Why not ask your readers?”

Name It!

So I thought, “Well, why not?”

If you’re in the mood for some creative brain exercise, take a look at the photo above and ask yourself… What would you name that thing?

It’s not finished yet, but the gist of the thing is there. All the colors are there. You can see that there’s a “burst” effect and there’s a bit of a floral element. The only thing that’s not complete in that photo is the outside edge.

What would you name it? I’d love to hear your suggestions! If you’d like to join in the fun, you can leave a comment below with your ideas.

And in the meantime, guess what I’m going to go do?

Yep. I have to feed the addiction – back to stitching!


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(419) Comments

    1. and useful extensions like Sun Burst, Star Burst, Lightning Strike, Sun Strike, or Blue Burst, Orange Burst, or ….

    1. I like Nancy’s name best, Spring Fever. And it gives a thematic start for naming the others–one for Summer, Fall, and Winter.

  1. Hi Mary

    I absolutely love your work. It is gorgeous!

    As for a name for this piece how about Starburst Mandala?

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Best Wishes.

    Jennifer Bachman

  2. To me they look like FIREWORKS! You could call them that, or you could give them individual names, such as POW! or BANG! or KAPOW!

    I did a mixed media thing that I called
    SHOUT! after the pop song.

  3. Why not look at the dominant colours and name them that way. Eg autumn spring winter etc. Or sunrise sunset break of day.

  4. Sounds like you really got in the zone with the lovely piece you shared today.
    I would name it: Meditation Mandela
    Thank you for sharing – look forward to seeing your new site.

  5. Your designs make me think of mandalas rather than kaleidoscopes, and I love the colors and shapes, so…. how about “mandalove? 🙂

    who is also not good at naming designs!

    1. That was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid! 🙂 It evokes such summery memories! And I always wanted a dress like the cherry dress that Jeanne Crain wore. (Ok, just so you know, I’m over that now…!)

  6. Mary,
    I love this blog! You do such a wonderful job.

    My suggestion: “Chain Reaction ” or “Inspiration”

    1. Mary, was it The Catherine Wheel by Patricia Wentworth? That book is a village cozy mystery by one of my favorite light reading authors.

      I like the name, by the way. You have taken a few lines and turned them into something rich and strange. Would you say alchemy? I also like Kaleidoflora as I so loved kaleidoscopes when I was young. I love the pieces as they have come from your hand. Best, Charlotte

  7. I just love this knew venture. Hope to see the published version soon. Both kaleidoscopes have spoken to me of the legendary places of fantasy and past history. The name that popped into my head when I saw this one was Mandalay. Perhaps a theme of legendary places could offer a source of names.

  8. I would name your latest project Sedona Sunrise. It has all the beautiful colors of an Arizona sunrise plus the lush greens of our local flora.

    1. 🙂 Oh, we came close to that one! My sister suggested “tequila sunrise.” But we were on a cocktail-names kick at the time. I do like sunrise-related ideas!