A while back I found a frame in oxfam that had a box at the back. It was full of rather grim pot pourri, but remembering the fun I had making my "Revenge Tragedy" box ( see left), I snapped it up, emptied out the sad wood shavings and slice of orange and thought about what I could make to go in it.
Something needleworked perhaps....on a recent trip to Chichester I re-visited Parham House. Not been there since I was a teenager but always meant to return as it is one of the loveliest houses I have ever visited. I really like Elizabethan houses- the light, the plasterwork, the woodwork, the atmosphere- Parham has all of them in spades but it also has one of the finest collections of 16/17 century textiles in the country. So exciting to see it all again- I remembered how I had gone straight home after my first visit so many years ago and started working on a flame stitch cushion cover, using a pattern from the flame stitch bed curtains of the main bedroom. I was inspired again, but wasn't sure quite how to put my inspiration to practical use. Today I decided. I would make some more 'boxes' using the little frame as the first one.
I lined the box frame, embroidered a backing
and then wondered what to do next.
I wanted to use ideas started by the embroideries at Parham but not to just reproduce a period design. One of the things I love about some early embroidered pieces are the imaginary worlds they lead you into- gardens with elaborate fountains, deer and gigantic butterflies...yes, I would make a garden and I would start with an orange tree that would stand in an ornate Delft pot.
After making some leaves I realised the awful truth. No orange tree, let alone a whole a garden, will fit into a three and a half inch square frame.
So, one thing has led to another. Now I'm thinking a series of frames, with different aspects of a garden in each...which gives me way more scope for some fun. The first frame will have one of those BIG insects in it and the orange tree will have a frame of its own, with a flame stitch surround. I'm very excited about this little project, it will take some time, and I need to find enough frames and adapt them, but I think it will be fun.