Guilty Pleasure

I confess! I made these little Christmas ornaments. From a kit.
As someone who really, really prides herself on designing her own work, it was with a little bit of guilt that I embarked on making these birds. I found this kit in the local thrift shop, unopened since its 1983 copyright date. Designed by the former reigning goddess of stitchery, Erica Wilson, and published by Columbia-Minerva, it turned out to be quite pleasurable to complete.
The bird outlines were stamped on a good quality wool felt, and there was a very generous supply of thread and sequins. Even needles were included. I was in a frame of mind where I just needed to keep my hands busy, so this little project fit the bill.
I especially enjoyed the 3-dimensional aspect of the ornaments, and am now thinking stumpwork is something I might explore a bit more.
Added a few days later:
This little project must seem like a bit of a contradiction to my previous post, but I did notice a few things. Each bird took about 4 hours to complete, so it was not a quickie. Although I chose it because I needed something fairly mindless, the gold metallic thread did not pull smoothly through the felt, so I had to work the stitches with care. The sequins were fun.
And the inspiration to explore stumpwork was a gift. I agree with Jude's comment, I never quite knew how I might use it in a piece. I also always used to think it was contrary to the drapey fluid nature of cloth. But there is the potential for me - how can I play with that space of in-between two and three dimensions? I had a teacher at art school who once suggested that that space was hitherto unexplored (and dominated) by old masters, and thus a new frontier for women artists to explore. In my early work, I did a number of piece that I considered sculpture (3D) but were actually flat, and used layering and light to give the sense of depth.


  1. Erica Wilson has been around for awhile... a mother of craft for sure. Those mindless projects are great sometimes... very freeing and comfy for the soul... of course you can't beat having all the supplies provided either. The birds are really classy looking on the greenery!

  2. Anonymous7:03 PM

    Great ornaments and if they come from a kit or they were made by hand by Tasha Tudor (rest her soul) it matters not because it's an expression of Christmas! I'm not a super-religious guy but somehow, all the same, it hits me every year. Without any warning I'll fall under a spell and develop a sudden hankering for Christmas carols and sparkling lights and Christmas cards. The whole shebang!
    Thanks for getting me going with your sparkling birds. I'm going to go out right now and bake some gingerbread cookies. Jean-Pierre

  3. stumpwork has always interested me but i could never figure out a "use" for it.

  4. Anonymous8:58 PM

    I have always wanted a whole Christmas tree full of birds! I like these ones. BTW, Jean-Pierre wasn't kidding, a Christmas card from him arrived in my mailbox today!

    Sending happy bird thoughts your way...


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