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.
This month's update is going to be a quickie, as I'm in the midst of Christmas chaos and there's not much space left in my brain for meaningful writing!!
The October page of the calendar was inspired by all the orangey colours of Autumn and the fallen leaves that cover the pavements at this time of year. I wanted the end result to look a little like a pathway with leaves strewn on either side.
What surprised me was that I actually couldn't identify any of the leaves I found (except for the oak leaf, and that's only becuase I watched Oakie Doke religiously as a child!) So I went for a long walk through the park armed with this guide to identifying British trees and found my favourites - Oak, Sycamore and Hawthorne. I also decided to include the Samaras (the little helicopter seeds that come from a Sycamore tree) because our garden is currently filled with them.
Only when I came to sketch out the design did I realise that this was going to be a mammoth task. Every leaf would require satin stitch (one of the embroidery stitches used to fill a space with colour) - my LEAST favourite stitch because it takes so much time to do. All in all, this page of the calendar took me over 25 hours to embroider. I definitely hated it towards the end, but now I've taken some fancy photos and layered it with real dried leaves, I'm in love again.
I am now offiially half way through! 6 / 12 months have been done.
Here's a sneaky peak of all six so far:
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. If you're also based in Cardiff, there's a wonderful website called "Trees in Cardiff" that details all the trees in our parks, what they are and where they can be found. We have quite a few rare trees, and some historical tree avenues that it's lovely to learn about. If you have a Google, you might be able to find something similar for your own local area.