I started it for the 1 Year of Stitches project on Facebook in January 2017. I’d intended to sew something free and spontaneous and different, but somehow when I looked at my hoop, all I could see to make was a tree!
I’d popped a piece of vintage linen - cut from an old table runner picked up in a charity shop - into a 9” embroidery hoop.
Rather naively, I didn’t use any sort of stabilising fabric, so it’s lucky that the relatively fine linen managed to support the weight of the tree that grew. I gathered together a bigger collection of lengths of rope, garden twine and wool than I’d used so far, and started stitching the trunk . . .
The tree grew - at first mainly from its trunk down into a tangle of roots that I really enjoyed creating. I used embroidery cotton to couch down the jute / hemp / wool fibres, which I split into thinner strands as I went along. Then gradually the branches reached upwards.
I had so much fun allowing it to find its form straight from my imagination, allowing the natural twist of the fibres at times to dictate the shape it would take.
About six weeks later it was complete, and I loved it! It’s probably still my favourite piece of work, but that’s at least in part because of how important it’s been in helping me to grow as a textile artist. I’ve made lots more trees, large and tiny since then. Almost as soon as I finished it, I was commissioned to create a Spring tree, and earlier this year I created an 8” hoop tree for my first international client in the USA. Tiny trees are on brooches too, which I have also custom-made, and in beautiful wooden frames (some in my Etsy shop currently).
The original Winter Tree, though, will never be for sale - I shall be treasuring it always! 💚🌳💚