Working in a Creative Room

Painting by Hugh Barnden
‘It is how you feel about your home rather than the way it looks’ an interesting comment read recently – when I got to think about it, it makes a great deal of sense.   It is the personal things, the items you have collected on holidays or trips to the country or treasures handed down from your family - and of course things like your needlepoint either made by you or your children or friends given as special gifts.

Certain colours in rooms give me a thrill, in a previous home we inherited a deep blue bath (having always said there was only one colour for vanity wear – white) it was tempting to replace it but I decided to work with it, so pleased I did, teaming it with Moroccan tiles and this painting.

Our present bedroom is shades of soft blue, the reason for many of my needlepoint designs being shades of the same colour.   Calm, peaceful but full of stitching memories that give me pleasure every time I go in.  Besides two of my recent designs, the Cathedral Tiles and Tudor and the third one with a v-shaped flap all bring back happy events;  Cathedral Tiles was inspired by some wal tiles in the Christ Church Cathedral in Christchurch New Zealand, the 19 century Cathedral was destroyed by a mega earthquake in recent years and there is a temporary church built with cardboard.  The strap pattern that defines the four diamond shape areas on the Tudor design was taken from a portrait of a lady wearing a white blouse with embroidered black work motifs.   The triangle shaped design (shown central on the bed) was inspired with both the striped fabric found in a street market and the jewel found in the souk in Marrakesh.  
The white crocheted bedspread again brings memories of a lovely holiday in St Tropea and finding this in a small antique shop in the hills behind the town.

Everywhere I look brings memories back, this shot of a sofa in the living room holds a number of designs each with their own story however this  Butterfly cushion (centre on sofa) holds a very special place for me, it was the first time I had ever attempted a free design, until then it was geometric, geometric and even more geometric - while those designs gave great scope for textured stitches, the freedom I experienced with the butterflies probably was the start to my recent designs of Patchwork with Iris and the Wedgewood Butterflies.

The Butterflies framed above on the wall are again happy memories, Dede Ogden and I designed and taught the design on a residential course in Connecticut; she is one of the most talented designers I know and working with her was such fun.

This Hydrangea rug has been with me many years, first in a London drawing room then on a wood block floor in the 19th century mill in Norfolk and now in my bedroom here in Primrose Hill on a pale tiled floor - happy memories of stitching it with some help from friends. Also in this photograph is a glimpse of the corner of a four posted bed, the poles when I first saw them were part of a pair of standard lamps;  probably they were originally posts so I feel happy that we have restored them to the original use.


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