When a Chinese Mother was with child, she would create a hat from carefully chosen fabrics, embroidery and appliqué. Each choice held special symbolic meaning, wishes or protection.
Every stitch of embroidery was the manifestation of her deepest love of her child, a way of embracing her child with a good life.
I love the idea of taking thoughtful stitches in fabric, inspired from the depths of my heart, to create with my hands a story for you filled with the symbolism and legends of ancient Chinese culture.
As I sit hand-sewing this creation together I think about the meaning or symbolism of the Hydrangea and with each stitch I take, I sew to bring forth that message of gratitude and enlightenment within each petal...
Hydrangea symbolizes expressing love, gratitude, heartfelt sincerity, and enlightenment.It is said that the observer can easily get lost in it's abundance of beautiful petals, and thus gets lost in one's own thoughts – gaining higher thought and reaching enlightenment.
I now have the story but need to study the flower itself. I will look online and save several images...
full shot- to determine the overall shape
close up shot of petals- to determine the individual petal shape and how they cluster together
and of leaves- taking note of the veining
I pull out my white silk and get to work...
Drawing out the petal shapes and then hand dying each center.
I decided that these petal needed to be very delicate.
Instead of sewing them together, I decided to fuse them with a heavyweight stabilizer to give them strength and that is fused to a blue dupioni fabric to add contrast.
After the dying is dry, I cut out each shape.
The hat base has been sewn and I create the leaves that are nestled tightly against the flower under-structure half ball form covered in batting and silk. These all have now been hand sewn to the hat.
I start adding the individual flowers with small mat porcelain beads.
Round and round I go sewing each flower to the perfect spot.
ok...ok...I know many of you think this girl is crazy but isn't this art...doesn't this process ignite something in your soul to see the minute details??
Photography: Mark Mortensen
Since I give so much detail to each step, I do not forget about the hidden places, that will always hold a surprise!
Chinese brocade with silver metallic threads.
Note the quilting that is in the hat base.
The hat base is hand sewn together, I let a little of the lining show to give a fine line detail of the hat shape.
The crowning touch! Hydrangea.
Next week Peony!