Embroidery · illustration · Print and Pattern

Embroidered Magnolia Leaves

I embroidered my first leaf back in 2012. 

This idea came out of the works through the creative process from the beginnings of my portfolio class. I kept them simple at first and just followed the veins. Then I tried some cut out work and layering, but kept them at that. In the end, I made about 20 and framed them. I then proceeded to give them away as gifts. 

Let me back up a minute–“Is that a real leaf? How do you do that? Does it stay preserved?!”

First, I pick up a magnolia leaf off the ground when it has naturally fallen and is yellow. Next, I get some embroidery floss and a needle and get to work. I have no direct plans, no pre-drawn designs, just me the needle and wherever the thread takes me. Now, back to when I said a yellow leaf. The magnolia leaf is a thick waxy leaf, and when yellow it is dying and getting ready to dry out. As I embroider the yellow drying leaf, it is much more forgiving, and actually begins to dry around and with the embroidery. This is important because it helps keep the shape from curling and looks great when complete. To preserve them, I put them in a frame. Do they last forever? Well, I cannot answer that for I will not live forever, but I imagine framed will last them quite some time.

Recently, I’ve been trying to keep creative and this project was always one of my favorite, next to drawing. It’s portable, and doesn’t cost much to make! It’s simple a beautiful, just as nature is. ☺️. I decided that I wanted to push a few different collections of leaves with more intricate designs that would be more appealing so that I could sell them as art. As an artist with a textile degree, I love print and pattern, so I wanted to do my first collection of a motif that I could eventually translate into a pattern, and I wanted to get to it. I decided on doing mandalas. The definition of mandala is a symbol in a dream, representing the dreamer’s search for completeness and self-unity. I thought this couldn’t be more fitting for my current place in life. I picked up my needle and thread and began embroidering, making it up as I went. I’ve completed 2 so far. Enjoy! 


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