I’ve just seen a flashing bobbin in the sky, which can surely only mean one thing, time to answer the call from Mr X Stitch and put together another edition of ‘Exploring Etsy’. This week I shall not only be introducing you to a talented maker but perhaps for some of you a whole new embroidery technique. Before finding the fabulous work of Erin, from ‘Harp and Thistle’, I’d never heard of the wonders of Punchneedle embroidery.
‘Harp and Thistle’ is run by Erin and her husband Corey. She designs and makes the creations and he does all the photography and shipping. Being of Irish descent Erin is the Harp and Corey of Scottish, the Thistle. Specialising in Punchneedle embroidery Erin often finds people, like myself, completely unaware of this technique and asking her to tell them all about it. So without further ado I shall hand over to the expert herself to do just that…
“Punchneedle (or Needle Punch), is an ancient rug-hooking technique shrunken down onto a much smaller scale and uses a special twice-threaded hollow needle, embroidery floss and weaver’s cloth. Each tiny loop is painstakingly and meticulously hand punched with love by me. What makes this technique so unique is that the needle itself is adjustable, so some loops can be made longer for depth. It’s what makes punchneedle so special, and different from all other forms of embroidery.”
What is your earliest stitching memory?
My Mom is an avid (and incredibly talented) quilter. She organises a quilt for the first born child of our whole extended family. She picks a theme and everyone does one square , then she creates wonderful baby quilts out of them. I remember working on a Winnie the Pooh one for my cousin Sean. My square was Kanga and Roo. My oldest sister drew Kanga, and I drew Roo (with my mom’s help) and then we “helped” her embroider them. I must have been 7 or so!
What fires your imagination?
I love looking at looking at textures and dimensions and everyday objects and figuring out how to translate them into the medium of punchneedle embroidery. Things found in nature – like flowers, birds, and woodland creatures. I am especially inspired by things on the slightly more quirky side, items not usually thought of for wall art or wearables like faux sushi, beard silhouettes, pretzels or (my personal favourite) the avocado. Because my needle is adjustable, I’m able to play with dimensions in very fun and unique ways. By slowly raising the height of the needle as I work around the avocado pit, for example, it becomes a very realistic work of art. I also love mixing strands of my hand-dyed embroidery floss together to add even more depth to the designs – to me it’s similar to how a painter would mix paint.
To see what other wonderful things can be created using this amazing technique you should head on over to ‘Harp and Thistle’ and explore all the treasures it holds.
Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her new Etsy shop.