Living by a beach has its advantages. Whenever I'm out for a walk along the beach I have the habit of looking down at my feet - it's strangely compelling - to look at all the millions of stones on the beach, each with unique and fascinating shapes, colours and patterns.
Since I seem to be constantly bringing new and 'interesting' stones home to sit on my studio windowsill, it seems the next step to start incorporating them into my stitching.
These two have been covered entirely in various couched goldwork threads. They're lovely to work on because the stones 'sit' snugly in your hand, and of course the tension doesn't loosen off like fabric in a frame tends to do. They aren't actually 'for' anything, more of just an experiment in taking stitch techniques (in this case couching) into the third dimension.
The secret is to use a curved needle: it just makes the whole process much easier when sewing onto curved or three-dimensional surfaces, as any surgeon will vouch. (Look at the purple stitches - they're actually surgical sutures. The only trouble is that surgical needles are intended for single-use purposes, meaning they come with a limited amount of thread pre-attatched and can then only be thrown away. The mission is now to procure a robust enough curved needle with an integral eye.)
Meanwhile, I have some gorgeous three-dimensional Berlin Wool Work underway, undertaken as part of a collaboration with embroidery artist James Hunting - stay tuned!