Art Studio: The Wren – textile art

Hand embroidered textile art on vintage handkerchief © Stephanie Boon, 2010. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Dry Your Tears and We’ll Fly Away

Today I’m sharing a textile art work from the archive. This little piece of embroidery has been on my mind lately. I made it in about 2010 as part of a mail art project (where you exchange art work in the post with another artist), but the artist gave it back to me.  We exchanged pieces over several years and one day she returned everything I’d sent her (and wanted everything back that she’d sent me). I’m still not sure why, but I felt very hurt at the time. When I look at this body of work today I’m reminded of what a difficult time I was going through then. Some of the work is very intense.

Making Textile Art from Personal Ephemera

I made a number of textile art pieces as part of the project, but I think this one is my favourite.

Dry Your Tears and We’ll Fly Away: it was something I wanted to do. White on white. Ghost-like.

The text and a little wren are hand embroidered onto a vintage linen handkerchief that my mum had given me a few years earlier. (I love textile art, any art really, that include pieces of personal history.)

Textile art on a vintage handkerchief: 'Dry Your Tears and We'll Fly Away' Wren embroidery with wren feather. © Stephanie Boon, 2010 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Detail of the hand stitched wren and wren feather

I was a bit obsessed with dead birds back when I made this piece and I particularly loved this little wren that I found.  It was so tiny and fragile, incredibly beautiful. Birds became a metaphor for so many things.

Textile art on a vintage handkerchief: 'Dry Your Tears and We'll Fly Away' Wren embroidery with wren feather. © Stephanie Boon, 2010 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Detail of satin stitched legs

I drew the bird directly on to the handkerchief in pencil and the text is my own handwriting. I wanted to keep the detail of the original embroidery in the corner of the handkerchief. The padded satin stitch and drawn thread work are beautifully stitched.  It always amazes me how much detail, thought and skill were put into something as everyday as this. Making it into a piece of textile art honours that in some way, I suppose.

Textile art on a vintage handkerchief: 'Dry Your Tears and We'll Fly Away' Wren embroidery with wren feather. © Stephanie Boon, 2010 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Original embroidery on the corner of the handkerchief

I stitched one of the wren’s tiny little feathers to the linen above the embroidery.  Lightweight, ethereal. Lost on the breeze.

Textile art on a vintage handkerchief: 'Dry Your Tears and We'll Fly Away' Wren embroidery with wren feather. © Stephanie Boon, 2010 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Wren feather stitched to the handkerchief

The bird has flown.

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12 replies
  1. Maureen
    Maureen says:

    Oh Stephie how very sad, what an awful experience – no wonder you were hurt, was no explanation given at all? Your little wren embroidery is wonderful, love the little feather stitched at the top.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thank you for the lovely compliment Maureen! I was very bewildered and hurt for some time and I’ve never had an explanation, but those feelings have long since gone and I’m happy to have my own work back, especially since we’ve lost touch. x

      Reply
  2. Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow
    Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow says:

    How lovely and sweet this piece is! I can imagine feeling very hurt too but maybe she had a reason that made sense to her…..perhaps she’d wanted to collect her work back in order to leave it to someone later or gift them with it or keep it in the family, that sort of thing. Would have been nice to give you an explanation though as to whatever the reason. Well it is our gain since you are showing it 🙂

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Deb 🙂 I think you’re right, she probably had things going on for her. As you say, an explanation would have been helpful. We were very close friends and it all just seemed really cold and matter of fact at the time, like a business transaction! Still, it’s all in the past and now of course I’m glad I’ve got them back.

      Reply
  3. Lynne
    Lynne says:

    Oh my lovey sending HUGS!! Sounds to me like the recipient of your art had separation anxiety and just needed the work they sent you back. Remember other people’s problems are not yours to solve. I love this saying:- Not my monkeys, not my circus!! 😀
    When in doubt remember Nathan (my grandson) has the perfect stress solution. I build a tower and he knocks it down!! 😀

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Separation anxiety, hmm, I like that! I think her own work just had more meaning to her than the pieces I sent her. No idea why, but that’s the way these things go. At the beginning of the project though we’d agreed that what we’d received was ours, like letters would be. Oh well, I’m glad now, after all this time 🙂 x

      Reply
  4. vivjm
    vivjm says:

    A lovely piece of work, very beautiful and moving – I love the inclusion of the little feather. I can understand why you were so hurt at what happened with the other artist – it must have made you feel very vulnerable and bewildered.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      I sometimes think the feather is my favourite part, ha! I really was bewildered at the time, the work had been very intense and it almost felt like someone asking for their love letters back!!! A lot of the work was about loss of one sort or another and now I just see this loss as part of the project, a fitting end really 🙂

      Reply

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