As the supermarket shelves get taken over by enough chocolate to keep Augustus Gloop happy for a year, and our TVs are invaded by grainy black and white footage of ‘beautiful’ people frolicking with a bottle of perfume, it can only mean one thing. That’s right folks, the festive season is well and truly upon us. So however you celebrate the season, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa etc. I hope this first year of ‘Exploring Etsy’ has shown you the huge breadth of talent out there amongst the small independent sellers and inspired you to buy friends and family some truly unique gifts that are lovingly crafted. With that I shall introduce you to yet another talented maker, Rebecca Robinson and her shop ‘The Ladybird Tree’.
Before discovering the joys of felt and whilst studying for her degree Rebecca decided to try and sell cushions covers she’d made with her Grandma, using some designer fabric she’d found. However, she soon became bored with the monotonous sewing of straight lines. But after discovering all the felty goodness out there her obsession was born, so with embroidery thread in hand she set to work creating her first pieces. Now 3 years on she’s branched out from nursery items to intricate animal figures and felt decorations. I think you’ll agree they’re absolutely charming and chock full of character.
What is your earliest stitching memory?
I had barely picked up a needle until about 4-5 years ago and even then I started on the sewing machine before I found my true love which is hand sewing. My grandma has always been a keen crafter and when I expressed an interest she taught me some basic stitches which I still use to create items today. The first thing I actually remember sewing were some appliqué pears on a piece of denim for a cushion cover. I still have it, whenever I look at it I realise how far I’ve come and from such humble beginnings!
What fires your imagination?
The colours and shapes of nature provide the best creative fodder for me. I love to try and capture the essence of an animal, especially unusual animals, in my felt figures and carefully sew them into unique pieces of art. My best creative thinking happens when I am daydreaming, I like to think of something I have seen recently that I found striking and build a mental image of the finished item using interesting felt colours and stitches to really bring it to life. Recently I was looking at some pictures of a pangolin and it occurred to me that I could recreate their striking overlapping scales in felt. I found a lovely mossy green felt and set to work on it. The item was labour intensive as each scale was hand cut then hand sewn onto the body but it was worth it, it also sold to a lady in Cambridge the same day I listed it! So I guess it’s right to say that nature starts my imagination but colours and sewing techniques really create the flames of imagination.
Make sure to head on over to her beautiful shop to see what other great creations she has to offer! To further aid the festive shoppers out there, the next two editions of ‘Exploring Etsy’ will be special bumper posts featuring not one but two inspirational needlecrafters each – consider it an early Christmas gift from me.
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.