I am very slowly working towards a hand embroidered calendar for 2021, creating each page month-by-month in real time. Not only will each page be filled with hand embroidered illustrations of the wild flowers in season that month, it will also show information on sunrise and sunset times, the moon phases, and other details of seasonal change. My hope is to photograph each hand embroidered page to eventually produce a printed version of the calendar that can be hung on your wall, your fridge or the back of a door to prompt mindfulness of your surroundings and maybe encourage us all to put our phones down and go outside. You can read more about the overall idea here.
At the start of the month, I was feeling pretty worried about the June page of the calendar - I was worried that the May page was a fluke and that I wouldn't be able to reproduce anything like it for June, and I was worried that there wouldn't be any new flowers to embroider (this was a ridiculous worry because there were so many new bloomers in June that I could't possibly do them all!)
But on the 2nd weekend in June, we went to a wedding in Usk, South Wales. We stayed in an Air B'n'B up a long country road. The day after the wedding we walked back down the lane, and that's when inspiration hit. The hedgerows were filled with pink flowers - Herb Robert, Red Campion, and Foxgloves.
Then, the very next day on my morning walk, I came across a Common Spotted Orchid - the first I've ever seen. I had read about them in Emma Mitchell's book The Wild Remedy. And thus started the orchid hunt! So far I've managed to find Common Spotted Orchids, Bee Orchids and Marsh Orchids, but have my eyes open for more varieties as summer starts. It's mad to me that orchids can grow in the middle of a field in the UK but I can't keep them alive in the house!
The June page of the calendar started with a little orchid in the corner as a nod to my new obsession, and the rest was filled with pink flowers from the hedgerow in Usk. Whereas the May page had flowers on all 4 sides of the page, I stuck to just the long edges this month to represent the hedgerows on either side of a long country road. I picked a selection of pink DMC threads from John Lewis and then spent 10 days embroidering it. Work has been a lot busier this month, so most of the embroidery was done in the evenings whilst watching TV - I'd estimate it took about 10 hours in total.
Finally, I picked some Herb Robert and Red Campion to add for the photos.
Obviously, I won’t start taking pre-orders for the calendar until Summer 2020 (I’ll want a copy of it in my hands that I am happy with before I start taking people’s money), but you can join the waiting list here, or read more about the idea here.
P.S. It has always been my intention to add details of the moon phases to the calendar as I find the cycle of the moon to be a useful tool for planning my month. This month I read Period Power by Maisie Hill which was bloody brilliant! I'd highly recommend reading it as a tool for getting to know your menstrual cycle and how to harness your natural abilities at different times of your cycle. I'm hoping to create some sort of printable/downloadable that can be used alongside this calendar to help track your own cycle - watch this space!