A little bit about me...
.... and my work
Hello, my name is Beth and I am an embroidery & textile artist living in beautiful Sussex, England.
I aim to create beautiful and tactile pieces of artwork using layers of pre-printed cotton fabrics (and anything else that takes my fancy) which are then intricately embroidered and embellished to create fabulous textures and an overall image.
My work has really grown into various products and sells in the form of original embroideries mounted and displayed in square wooden box frames or framed in their embroidery hoops, mini embroidered pendants, Stitchscape pebbles, mounted high quality art prints, greetings cards... the list is still growing and changing.
I design and sell a wide range of stitchscape kits so you can have a go at stitching your own! This has become a huge part of what I do as I love to encourage and teach others, so new kits are being added all of the time. You can find all of these and more over on my Etsy shop!
I am open to commissions, just send me a message for more details.
How did you start?
I’ve always loved sewing and playing with fabrics (I’m a terrible hoarder of materials- the attic is groaning with boxes!) and when that passion took me to De Montfort University to do a BA Hons in Mixed Media Textiles, it was like living a dream where I could play all day long!
When finishing university however I went swiftly into working the day job and my sewing became more of a hobby and got pushed to one side. The stitchscapes literally developed out of one evening when I was tired and feeling a little melancholic and the itch to stitch drew me to my stash. The craving for getting everything out and playing with colour, texture and pattern was quite overwhelming, and with nothing in mind I cut and stitched, laying printed cottons down onto a base cloth, working on autopilot for the enjoyment only.
The initial stitches were just following the patterns of the fabrics whilst I rediscovered my favourite ones; French knots, bullion knots, seed stitch, whip stitch, the good old back stitch. The forms that were being created started to remind me of fields and flowers so I carried on working in that vein until I was happy with the finished composition. The free-flow way of working really inspired me and suddenly I had all of these ideas for further stitchscapes jostling inside my head, desperate to be let out into the hoop. From then on, one stitchscape inspired another and the pieces got larger, more intricate, some lead by a single stitch I wanted to explore further or some by a fabric I wanted to use again.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Throughout all of my pieces I have tried to keep this initial, instinctive, almost mad way of working going, and often have absolutely no idea what the finished piece will look like other than a vague idea of something I might be trying to achieve. I don’t keep traditional sketchbooks but I am constantly taking photographs and some of these may be the initial spark of an idea, although usually it is something I’ve seen that makes a mental impression. Commutes for work are especially inspirational as, on the bus, I go through dense woodland, drop down through rolling fields and chug up steep hills whilst the sun flames over the trees or the frost sugar-coats everything in a sprinkle of glitter- all of these get locked away in a mental memory bank and whirl around until they reappear in my hoop.
My stand at the Bridge Arts in Uckfield summer exhibition in 2018.
At TWA in 2017 (above) and posing for the Bridge Arts Uckfield Train Station exhibition in 2018 (right).
What process do you use?
When starting a new stitchscape, I will often have a basic outline ready, by which I mean I will know if it has trees in it, or mountains, perhaps a sunset, or, like more recently, a giant supermoon. I like to use a medium weight, good quality calico for the base cloth as it is stable and forgiving, and to this I will lay out fabric suggestions, playing with the order of pattern and colour until I’m ready to cut the shapes. These are roughly cut and briefly tacked down to hold them in place so that the fun can begin! My initial approach of using the printed patterns to inform stitch choice still applies and I tend to systematically work the layers from either the top or the bottom, ‘filling in’ fabrics as I go.
Flowers, finer details, extra layers come later and I’m not afraid to completely unpick an entire section if I don’t think it has worked (the price to pay for not planning in advance!).
Where you can find me
Aside from my various outlets on Etsy, Facebook and other social media sites, I frequently exhibit and sell my work at local craft fairs throughout the year. Details of upcoming events can be found on the events page, or on my Facebook events listing page.
I also teach classes on embroidery and stitchscaping; the details of my upcoming classes and how to book are listed alongside my upcoming events. If you are interested in a specific aspect of my work and have a group who would like to arrange a class together please do contact me as, location depending, I am always willing to try and accommodate private classes.
I am a regular tutor at Made & Making, a fantastic workshop space in Hassocks, East Sussex, who also hold workshops on a number of other creative subjects and skills. To visit their website and to book on to one of my classes there, visit the below website.
Currently I also have work displayed at Nutley Edge Cottages in Nutley; fabulous holiday homes on the edge of Ashdown Forest. If you fancy visiting my little area of the world, you could book a cottage with my work already in it! Items on the walls of these cottages are also for sale.
More recently I have become a stockist of kits for two lovely haberdashery and craft shops. All are totally worth visiting if you are in their area!
the-stitchery in Lewes, East Sussex. (As well as stocking some of my regular kits, we have also developed a very special, exclusive kit only available in the store.)
Closs & Hamblin Ltd in Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Horsham, Winchester and Canterbury.
I am looking into selling my kits in other high street stores also so keep your eyes peeled!
If you have any further questions about my work please use the 'Get In Touch' form to send me a message, or click on any of my social media buttons to follow my creative journey wherever suits you best.
Thank you for visiting! x