Embroidery · Illustration · Sewing

Family art project for Mother’s Day


completed embriodery and illustration_caroline larnach

What do you give an artist for Mothers’ Day? Why more art, of course. Watercolour, illustration and embroidery. A love letter if you will … made by her family with love.

This year was a special Mothers’ Day for our family, as we had our beloved mama and Grandma in town with us. We celebrated with a family meal and presented her with a shared gift, that combined a creation from each of our households.

My brother’s beautiful daughters, age 8 and 6, contributed the fox and bird with the help of their mum. My sister, the wonderful artist Sarah Larnach, recreated a photo of mama when she was sixteen years old, against a map of where she grew up.

I chose to embroider and illustrate a family of Babushka dolls, from the embroidery book ‘Made in France’. In the book, the dolls appear on table linen, but my vision was to replicate them on paper in mixed media.

I secured a copy of the Babushka cross-stitch pattern on top of my art paper using my indispensable quilting tape (which I talked about here), and transferred the design for the two smallest dolls with a size 7 crewel needle. I rested the paper on a piece of faux sheepskin, which allowed me to punch the needle tip right through.

When I stitched the design, I used a single thread of regular sewing cotton instead of embroidery floss, because it creates such fine and clean lines. If I had used a single thread of DMC floss it would have been a thicker line, which I may try if I do this again.

The smallest doll was completed with 1mm cross-stitches, as per the original pattern. The next one traced the outline in back stitch. I’m trying not to look at the errors I see in these close-up shots! They’re not easily seen in the framed version though.

Its not so easy to work paper with a needle, especially when you’re sewing from back to front. You can’t “feel” for the thread hole with the needle without damaging the paper, so I found that I was flipping it from front to back quite a lot. The cardboard frame (see below), created once again with the help of my wonder tape, was really helpful in keeping the paper straight as I held and turned it.

The two largest dolls were finished with a combination of coloured pencil (Staedtler Luna) and pen (Faber Castle Indian Ink brush tip).

This blog is linked to the Daily Prompt: Hi Mum!

If you got arty on for Mothers’ Day and want to share your creation, why not post a link in the comments? I would love to see what you’ve been making!



7 thoughts on “Family art project for Mother’s Day

    1. We miss you too, Mira. I think of you a lot and I would love to just be able to spend some time in your company!

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