Alice Kettle: The garden of England

The Queen’s house, Greenwich, London until 18th August 2013

I have always admired the work of Alice Kettle who creates vast, painterly embroideries. So I headed to Greenwich enthusiastically to see her new work exhibited there. The Queen’s House was originally a garden retreat, thus the title. Kettle’s portrait of Queen Henrietta Maria is magnificent, and its golden threads shimmer and sparkle. The other portraits in the room are dressed elaborately in fine lace and flamboyant dress, though Henrietta was known to prefer plainer clothes.

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Black lace beaded flower

I bought this lovely piece of lace trimming some time ago, but this week I pinned it to my inspiration board. I have also been looking at the beads, which are black but with an iridescent shine. I often find that a material will inspire me to get making. I have used netting as the base for this, over felt. It reminds me of something Victorian, like the jet mourning jewellery they would wear. Also it is very versatile, it can be used as a brooch/hairclip and a bracelet/necklace with ribbon attatched. I will be listing it soon in my etsy and folksy shops (as soon as I get some photos of how it can be worn) I will be selling it for £7


While working on the blue satin stitched sample I was left with this pile of threads. As they are silky embroidery threads¬† they lay differently to cotton. The swirly shapes they make remind me of the sea, and I can see a lacy machine embroidery coming next….

Blue satin stitch embroidery sample

I was watching The Lady Vanishes on BBC one yesterday, and one of the English ladies was wearing an amazing pale mint green coloured outfit with a sheer transparent outer layer stitched all over in satin stitch. I wanted to recreate it myself, here is a small sample, machine stitched on transparent blue fabric which is two tone with pink mixed in when the light hits it. The heavy satin stitch combined with the delicate fabric creates a three dimensional aspect to it, almost like small waves. Its something I may explore further with my scarf designs.

Textile design & Embroidery