Fresh air, forest inspiration and gentle stitching...

I have had such a wonderful experience in my recent forest embroidery classes, I thought I would share some thoughts on it and some photographs! I decided after a long hiatus from teaching in person, that I really wanted to teach a class again; it can be lonely working by yourself (and only talking to a camera!) and everyone needs some creative influences and the chance to share ideas, including me!

I had been thinking about a class for a while and half heartedly looking for a venue, but was struggling to find exactly what I was looking for. Every month I go to a bushcraft club in my local forest and walk past the Forest Event room; It took me the best part of a year to work out that a great location was right on my door step! Venue sorted, but what to teach?

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I have been playing around with natural dyeing, slow stitching and other crafts for a while (see my Sarah Homfray Creates YouTube channel here if you haven't seen it yet!) and wanted to work on a way to bring these different techniques together. A little slow stitch sampler inspired by the forest seemed a perfect combination; we had a forest to go and explore in right behind the classroom!

I wasn't sure how people would respond to this idea, my embroidery training and YouTube videos are a very particular formal kind of embroidery and this was a bit different, but I was pleasantly suprised to see the amount of interest so I booked the classroom for two days!

I took all materials required including fabrics, wooden scrolls, threads, laces and lots of my samples to pass around; for a long time I have felt disconnected to the things I'm making, not touching the embroidery after it's stitched to protect it, wrapping everything up when you aren't working on it. The idea of this class was to connect with the fabric and materials we were using and the environment we were in so touching was a must!

We spent sometime outside (more on the second class as I got more confident with what I was asking people to do!) and looked at ways to use our environment in our stitching: textures of bark, shapes of leaves, mushrooms, pine cones and the animals around us (and on day two, actually in the classroom in the form of a little baby bird which had accidently flown in and was rescued by Alison!). I was thrilled to see little still life set ups on peoples tables of pine cones, leaves, bark and ferns and students fully embracing smashing leaves onto their fabric to get prints (courtesy of a rescue hammer from Lesley's car!)

By the end of the day students had partially worked little forest inspired samplers to take home and finish and wrap around their wooden cotton reels. It was great for me to see how students interpreted the task they had been given and I got knew ideas too: sew the actual twigs on the samplers, layering fabrics upwards not just along and everything doesn't need to line up neatly! It was great to see little birds appearing on the samplers as a memory of the little baby one in the classoom and felt leaves cut out from leaves in the forest being stitched on from a video done the previous week!

Thank you to Kay, Margaret, Helen, Lynne, Mel, Heather, Ceri, Marie, Tricia, Helen, Karen, Glenys, Katy, Alison, Karen, Lesley, Jill, Tricia, Nancy, Carol, Claire, Susan, Kay, Catherine, Judi and Helen for joining me for a wonderful two days in amongst the trees, it was an absolute pleasure.

And if that wasn't enough of a good day, the Northern lights came out in the evening!

Keep an eye out for more classes coming soon...



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