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The Preciousness of Life

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‘When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive- to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.’ Marcus Aurelius

 ‘The Preciousness of Life’ is a meditation on the beauty and serenity of nature married with a sense of nostalgia and family in a series of hand embroidered sculptural objects. Inspired by Lucy Martin’s garden at her family home, this personal project reflects the aspects of her life she holds most dear through the art of bespoke hand embroidery. This particular body of work comprises of a series of glass terrariums, within which sit a series of beautiful hand embroidered florals.

 During the COVID-19 lockdown, Lucy moved back into her childhood home and found herself seeking solace and comfort in nature and spending time with her family. Growing up near the Peak District, Lucy has always been surrounded by beautiful scenery. Looking back, this time spent in lockdown is no longer a time of uncertainty and fear, but a time of happiness, filled with precious memories. Family is the most important to Lucy. Her Grandad was a keen artist who painted and sketched beautiful canvases which now fill the walls of the home he shared with her Nana. Taking inspiration from his work, Lucy has incorporated his paintings into and  elements of home life to  create a personal narrative through the work and incorporate her beliefs and values.

The initial stages of the project began with sketches and paintings of the flowers around Lucy’s family home and nearby gardens. These artistic representations of florals then went on to inspire the final overall aesthetic. The blooms selected for this piece were carefully curated to reflect the people most important within her life; sweet peas because she helped her dad plant them during lockdown, bluebells such as those that line the woods opposite her nana’s house, alstroemeria which are her mums favourite flower etc.

Colour in florals is integral. When selecting the colour schemes for this piece, Lucy took inspiration from family photo albums. Drawing on key colours found within these pictures and the magical nostalgia of childhood, Lucy put together colour schemes and found species which would fit the overall aesthetic.

 Created mainly using Raised work and Stumpwork hand embroidery techniques, ‘The Preciousness of Life’ takes hand rendered and digitally drawn florals and translates this into stitched artwork. Combining Silk Shading, Goldwork and Tambour Beading techniques (among many others) to create the surface design on the petals, each Terrarium piece contains sculpted flowers stitched into a ground of hand embroidered moss.

When creating specific floral species in embroidery, Lucy uses Silk Shading with a technique called Both Sides Alike. This allows her to produce petals that are almost true to life with colour shading that is the same on both the front and the back of the petal. 

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