Embroidery for Xanthe: flowers leaves and butterflies

Floral embroidery for Xanthe (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

People often ask where ideas for embroideries come from. Usually there’s no one source – something emerges when images and and research jostle around in the back of my mind. But just sometimes I see an image and can’t rest until I’ve used it for an embroidery. And when this happens the inspiration almost inevitably comes from early C20th jewellery.

Detail of embroidery for Xanthe (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

I saw this enamel collar (an Art Nouveau choker, by Henri Dubret, c 1900) on Pinterest and straightaway saw the two crossed leaves in the centre as the letter X. From there it was a short step to making it into Xanthe (my 9 month old granddaughter’s name) and there has been no peace for me until I moved from idea to thread. To begin with I messed around with doing silly things like adding more flowers but then I realised that the design was just too perfect in itself to change. The emeralds on their gold wire lattice which worked so well on the choker I changed into the seed heads of little allium-like plants dotted about on almost invisible stems.

Detail of embroidery for Xanthe (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

This wedding monogram was also inspired by an Art Nouveau piece of jewellery.

Art Nouveau jewelled and enamel choker by Henri Dubret, France c 1900

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  1. Amara Bray
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Both the embroidery and the choker are beautiful. Wow. I wouldn’t have thought to connect one to another. The inspiration is a gift you uniquely own.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the kind comment, Amara.

  2. Posted February 2, 2018 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Lovely. The white background makes the embroidery light and fresh, suitable for a child, and yet it’s sophisticated enough to stay with her all her life. She’s a lucky little girl (even if 9months old is a bit young to realise it yet!)

    • Mary Addison
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      Lovely thing to say, Rachel. Many thanks.

  3. Allegra Stratton
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Amazing Mum. And… amazing, Mum. Works punctuated both ways.
    Xanthe will love it forever.

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  • […] my grandson a long time ago (he’s now 4) but, wouldn’t you know it, I ended up making an embroidery for his little sister first.  (which might be viewed as a bit of an insult as she’s only 9 months old!).  After […]

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