Every so often the Chair at our branch of Embroiderer’s Guild presents us with a challenge. For the latest one we were each given a petri dish and a theme, ‘It’s a Small World’. The only rules were to incorporate it in something textile related. Our creations would be judged by the visiting artist at the June meeting.
Now that I’ve been a member for a couple of years, I thought I might give this one a bash. For inspiration, I browsed through my recent photos. I’m no photographer but I’ve always carried a simple camera (these days just a phone) to record something that catches my eye.
I found these from last time the fair was in town. The fairground evokes fond memories for me of the times my Grandma took me on summer day trips to Southport. We’d play the 2p machines, hook-a-duck and ride the caterpillar and carousel. I still love the blaring waltzer music, garish colours and the vinegary smell of a chip van.
It was the spiralling wave on the helter skelter that I noticed first as it made me think of ric-rac, and then looking at the other rides, I could imagine my petri dish forming the base and top of a carousel. Last week I’d brought some self-adhesive red gingham ribbon that happened to be the perfect width for the edge of the dish and I also had some turquoise ribbon with red spots that reminded me of the lights on fairground rides. I used these as the basis for my colour scheme. Where and how could I get tiny horses though? Eventually I sourced these lovely buttons from Laura Matthews Etsy shop.
The central pole was made from a little cardboard pencil tube that I painted with acrylics before gluing on spiralling ric-rac and braid. I painted the horses and stitched them onto bamboo skewers that I’d covered in narrow ribbon. The kids’ cheap plastic beads had just the right sized holes to insert the skewers in to give a bit more surface area to attach to the dish, before the very fiddly process of gluing them in place. My girls very kindly also donated their Lego flag!
Here’s the finished carousel – not a prizewinner, but still a little tribute to my Grandma and happy memories of our trips to the fair.
There were over twenty entries and the standard and variety was just fantastic. Below are just a few of my favourites (zoom in on those incredible tiny knots!). The winning creations and all the wonderful entries can be found on the branch blog and are well worth a look