‘I do not remember a time when I did not try to invent pictures and make for myself a fairyland amongst the wildflowers, the animals, funghi, mosses, woods and streams, all the thousand objects of the countryside.’
Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 to 22 Dec. 1943) barely needs an introduction. Known and celebrated worldwide for her exquisitely illustrated children’s story books, featuring the likes of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and Tom Kitten. However there was so much more to this woman than her story books.
This design is inspired by Beatrix’s beloved home Hill Top Farm, Sawrey, in the Lake District, where she sought solace following the untimely death of her beloved publisher Norman Warne. Here she found peace and a chance to live life as she saw fit, the farm and contents becoming the subjects of many illustrations for her books.
Her garden at Hill Top to me reflects all she lived for, with its lively, untamed cottage garden planting, creating a painting in foliage. The flowers are juxtaposed with the productive vegetable garden, all providing food for the artistic mind and for the body, mirroring Beatrix as a woman of intrinsic artistry and practicality. In this design, I have tried to capture the joy of this garden, working with delicate threads and soft wools and fabrics, on a base of silk organza pre-printed with my watercolour of Hill Top, echoing Beatrix’s love of this medium.
She could draw with immense realism and detail but she also managed to create a delicate softness to her illustrations which is endlessly appealing. Hence my use of muted English wool tweeds and flannels, fine English crewel wools, delicate silks and needle-felted wool tops.
The design includes iconic features from the Hill Top garden which also appeared in some of Beatrix’s famed illustrations: geraniums from ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’, and the green gate and rhubarb from ‘The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck’.
The design composition is also inspired by a long case clock from Beatrix’s collected treasures at Hill Top, and which was featured in illustrations for ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’. I love the way in which the border of the clock draws you into the scene in the painted dial behind, just as Beatrix’s illustrations draw you in to their story. Hence using a clock face border as a frame for my design, hoping that it will draw you in to her story.
The fretted brass surround has been hand engraved by my friend Adam Mills, clockmaker, silversmith and hand-engraver. This was worked to my own design inspired by the original clock, depicting roses and strawberries, together with the Beatrix quote above and a sneaky bunny! The wooden box and engraved surround can be commissioned if required to display your finished embroidery.
I do hope this embroidery will take you on a lovely journey into the world of Beatrix the woman; artist, illustrator, writer, gardener, farmer, conservationist, entrepreneur and down-to-earth countrywoman.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT DOES MY KIT INCLUDE?
Your kit includes all the fabric, threads and needles required to complete the design, together with a highly comprehensive illustrated instruction manual, written and drawn by Jenny. All threads are carefully packaged and labelled to denote where they are to be used in the design. We suggest you have a look through all the components to familiarise yourself with the complete kit before starting work. Where relevant, kits also include the materials required to construct the completed embroidery.
WILL I NEED ANYTHING ELSE TO ENABLE ME TO COMPLETE MY KIT?
Yes, but only basic embroidery equipment. A list of the items required can be found in the front of your instruction manual. All items can be purchased from our website. If you have any queries about equipment, please feel free to contact us for advice.
HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE DO I NEED TO BE ABLE TO COMPLETE THE KIT?
Most of our kits are designed for embroiderers with some experience, but the instruction manuals are extremely comprehensive and will teach you all you need to know.
If you have any difficulties, or need advice on the difficulty level of a certain kit, you are welcome to contact us.
I FIND TRANSFERRING DESIGNS ON TO FABRIC DIFFICULT
Don’t worry, the designs are all pre-printed for you!
CAN I POST IMAGES OF MY KIT/WORK ON MY BLOG/SOCIAL MEDIA/WEBSITE?
We will be delighted if you wish to show images of this project on your blog/social media/website, as this often inspires others to have a go! However, as a courtesy, please do let me know if you plan to do this, and be aware that blogging of techniques, step-by-step or close-up images, either of the project in progress, the instructions, and the kit contents, is an infringement of copyright. Please always credit the design source and always include Jenny’s website and contact details so that those reading your blog can get in touch. Please highlight any infringements of this copyright which you observe from others.
I AM STRUGGLING WITH A SECTION OF THE DESIGN
One of the most important aspects of buying a kit from us is that you have direct contact to Jenny by email and she will be happy to assist you and provide advice. We cannot always answer within the hour but we will get back to you as soon as possible. If you are really struggling and need more help, we can arrange a lesson for you or to complete the section for you.
I AM MISSING A COMPONENT IN MY KIT OR HAVE RUN OUT OF A THREAD
We do our absolute best to ensure these situations don’t occur, but your kit is made by humans rather than machines and we do occasionally have a senior moment! Please feel free to let us know and we will be happy to supply more.
I AM NOT HAPPY WITH MY WORK AND WOULD LIKE TO RE-WORK
We totally understand this – most embroiderers incline to perfectionism! While we sadly can’t provide more materials for free, please just let us know what you require and we will be very happy to supply more.
MY DOG/HUSBAND/HOOVER/SOFA/CAT/GOLDFISH ATE MY THREAD!
It happens! Not a problem. Just let us know what you need
and whilst we can’t send these for free, we are more than
happy to supply more.
MY THREAD IS DIFFERENT TO THAT IN THE PHOTOGRAPH OF THE DESIGN
Thread colours may vary somewhat due to dyeing processes and can appear different in reality due to photographic distortion. Due to limitations posed by suppliers, we also reserve the right to substitute project materials with suitable alternatives to those illustrated if absolutely necessary.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT NEW DESIGNS?
Please go to Jenny’s website where you can join the mailing list to find out about all new releases. We promise only to send you relevant embroidery-related news and not to pass your details to third parties.
CAN I SUBMIT MY WORK TO A CRAFT SHOW OR COMPETITION?
We are delighted if you have enjoyed working the project and would like to submit your piece to a craft/country show competition etc. Please do let Jenny know if you are doing this as she would love to hear how you get on. Please always credit the design source and always include Jenny’s website and contact details so that people viewing the piece can get in touch.
CAN I TEACH THE DESIGN TO OTHERS?
If you have enjoyed working the project yourself and would like to share this with friends or wish to work the design with your students, you are welcome to contact Jenny for more kits. The kit and accompanying instructions must otherwise not be copied, reproduced or taught in any form without prior permission. This will otherwise infringe copyright. Multiple kit orders are welcome and can be supplied on a wholesale basis by arrangement. Please contact Jenny for more details.
I WOULD LIKE HELP WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OR DISPLAY OF MY FINISHED WORK
Excellent news. We hope you have enjoyed the journey and are delighted with the finished result! If you would like help with mounting or finishing the design, please feel free to get in touch. If you would like to order a frame, box or similar for displaying the finished piece, please visit the webshop.