I made my first drawing for this bracelet over 18 months ago, but as is often the case, life got in the way and nothing was done until now. I gathered all the materials I want to incorporate and I’ve made the template, a great start, all I need now is some studio time!
My sister has been charged with getting Mum’s fingerprint, I have samples of her writing and the bits and pieces of the embroidery that is the theme of this bracelet.
All this is about a period in our lives when things were very happy and we had a lot of fun with it for the 12 months it took to nut it out. It was a time when I felt I could finally do something really special for my Mum.
She’s a woman who has everything, so to find something to make her so very happy, Pig in Mud happy, is totally cool! It all started when I was 18 years old and had a bad fall from a motorbike, I broke my ankle in 7 places and was bed ridden for weeks. Mum decided that now was as good a time as any to teach me cross stitch embroidery, something I had been able to avoid until that time:)
But to my surprise I loved it, the charts she picked for me were interesting, I had just become engaged to Peter and was working on my ‘Trousseau’, well, some placemats…..
Over the years we had some special times with embroidery, just Mum, my sister and me. We were obsessive cross stitching til all hours: “Just one more thread, I want to see how this section will come out!” It kept us stitching away sometimes until 2 am! I stopped embroidery when I got busy with art school etc. but Mum kept going and was unbelievably good at it! It became a problem to find challenging patterns for her, I found some on the net that kept her happy for a few years, but when she had exhausted all her favourite designers’ collections, she got quiete depressed.
In our family, all the girls get a church ceremony when they are Christened and are dedicated to the Madonna, represented by a particular Byzantine Icon titled ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Succour’
There are many representations of this icon to be found, but she made it very clear there was only one that would do it for her! She had phoned all over the world to try and find a pattern for it for years, but there was always something wrong, not enough detail (usually) the wrong colours (too bright) and the list went on!
One day when I phoned her she was feeling very down in the dumps and said she would die without ever having made the embroidery that mattered most to her!
Poooor Mum! The next day I decided to design one for her………. OMG did I know what I let myself in for??? I tried a few different ways, but this was just too complex! After much trial & error I finally bought a cross stitch design program for the computer, now all I needed was the icon. all Mum had was a very small prayer picture, people used to have lots of those in their prayer books. A bit like baseball cards, but with your favourite saints instead! LOL So I scanned it in and got started…… Even with the
So I scanned it in and got started…… Even with the program, it took me over 6 months of designing, testing colours in cross stitch samples, redoing the chart, it went on and on!
But it was all worth it in the end, when I finally send Mum the pattern she was overjoyed, she’d been ‘encouraging’ me from afar and had to be very patient before I was satisfied with the design:) Of course, Mum didn’t do Cross stitch anymore by then, everything got done in Petit Point, which she did on the finest linen available! The result was so fine it looks like it is painted!
This pattern kept her busy for years, she made on for herself, one for me, one for her sister, who is a nun, and one for my brother, who seems to have her complete works, all framed, hanging at his place! I can’t imagine this sort of patience! Each one would have taken her 4-5 months full-time, from breakfast to bedtime, only toilet breaks and maybe a quick meal in between! Nothing would get between her and her stitching! Obsessive??? You think????
Anyway, it marks a very happy time in both our lives, I would keep her updated on the progress of my designing, and later she would keep me posted how things were going at her end! Last week I found all the test pieces I did and other things that could be used, also some of her writing about the icon before I started, and some of my own writing to her, black & white charts can be made into photopolymer plates. I think the hardest thing will be deciding what to include and what to leave out! More later… when I finish the bracelet!