The time has FINALLY come to officially present my flower embroidery floss artwork to the world. This piece was started almost exactly a year ago in preparation for my studio demonstration day at the Minnesota State Fair. I actually finished it in May, but I had to get it framed and get prints and with everything going on, it took a while to be ready for this moment.
This piece has been my most ambitious artistic undertaking yet, by far. I love making beautiful blended skies with embroidery floss, but the time involved is nothing compared to these detailed flowers when working on a large scale (which for me is 16″ x 20″, the largest I can ever go with embroidery floss because I have to be able to get directly over whatever spot I’m gluing). Each flower forced me to come up with different techniques that I hadn’t tried before. I started this piece not knowing how I would even approach about half of the individual flowers. Thankfully I was able to use minis to practice some of these new techniques on a smaller scale and apply that to this piece.
I wanted to visually show my anticipation for some things that I was excited for, personally and artistically. When you live in Minnesota, the transition from winter to spring is significant. Winter is all fun and good around the holidays, however January and February is…dreary. Bitter. Lifeless. But when the snow starts to melt and the green peeks through? And then the yellow and pink and red? Everything changes. The world wakes up. The air hums with excitement and promise and anticipation. So I went to my local farmers market and chose a couple bouquets of flowers, and arranged them to depict this abundance of warmth and growth that I was so eagerly waiting for. Obviously, 2020 derailed some of what I thought was going to happen this summer, but that just means that this piece represents a greater period of waiting and hoping than what I had initially set out to show.
In all, I used 96 embroidery floss colors on this. It felt like a lot at the time because I kept the pile of colors I was using separate from anything else to make sure I kept a consistent color story, however I was actually surprised at how low this number was. Most of my minis take between 30 and 40 colors, and that is only for six square inches! But for this piece, I was hyper-aware of how many different colors of flowers there were and REALLY wanted to avoid visual discord when it was completed. I incorporated individual colors strands I already used in as many ways as I could, and even with the yellow, red, purple, pink, green, and white flowers, I think the relatively limited palate kept the chaos in harmony.
I worked on this off-and-on from August to December, and then literally every day from January 1st through the first week of May. This has been a long time coming, and I have had a lot of conversations with people working on this during different events over the last year. I am so grateful for the excitement everyone has shown for this piece as they have witnessed it at various stages along the way. I appreciate the encouragement more than you can know.