Early Influences

Turquoise silk with feather stitching by artist Nicky Perryman

My mother was the first person to really help and inspire me with embroidery. She was the one who made me my first sewing kit, some of which I still have. A little needlecase in the shape of a hat, the crown holding a thimble, a cover for a small pair of scissors and a little felt book with pockets to hold packets of hooks and eyes and tailors chalk, the cover embroidered with my name in pink chain stitch. My mother had made some needlework samples at college and one of them was a small embroidered drawstring bag. I remember studying it closely as a child, its textures and colours – it was stitched in a band with blue and silver and had little tassels on the ends of the drawstring. My mother encouraged me to draw and paint, to make models and collage and helped me make my first clothes and knitted scarf for my teddy! My mother gave me some small embroidery booklets that showed different stitches. I remember reading them before I went to sleep at night – following the lines and shapes of the patterns over and over. My father gave me a hand made needlework box for my embroidery threads and I collected fabric scraps, ribbons, sequins, beads and other decorative objects like buttons and jewelery findings. Fabric collage became something I loved as well as constant drawing of things and people around me as well as geometric shapes and patterns.

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