The highlight of my show at the St. Cloud Festival December 5-6 was being given the best of show award for “Great Blue Heron.” This piece is one of my free-style embroidery projects. This is one of my wildlife art pieces. Judging by patron reactions, this is something they do not see often. “What is it?” “How did you make it?” I heard that constantly. I’m going to work on a pictorial for my booth to try showing how I use free-style embroidery to make wildlife art.
First of all, unlike your grandma’s embroidery, free-style does not use a pattern or defined stitches and may, or may not, use a sewing machine and definitely not an embroidery machine. I use my sewing machine “free motion,” meaning, the feed dogs are down and the fabric only moves by my hands moving the fabric under the needle; drawing as I go.
Every wildlife piece starts with a photograph. Then, I research the bird looking for color, feather details and size. I make a rough sketch on fabric and begin there. When I’m done free-styling (aka. thread painting) with my sewing machine I add background quilting. My wildlife art can take two days or a whole week, so winning best in show for one of them is really great.