So, I’ve finally finished my #100embroideredflowers project! Inspired by #the100dayproject, I photographed and embroidered a flower each day for 100 days. Well, sometimes (not as often as I thought might happen), the flower for that day proved extra complex to stitch or I had zero time due to other things and then the flower wasn’t completed on that day but each photo at least was taken on a hundred consecutive days.
Days 1 to 25
It was really interesting seeing how the flowers changed between the first day of the project, 3rd April and the last day, 11th July. I think that my favourites had to be in the earlier days when the first flowers, particularly the weeds, got their act together before all the bigger blousier flowers kicked in later on.
Days 26 to 50
I also found it interesting, in a slightly frustrating way, that there were distinct periods of time where it was really hard to find new flowers that I hadn’t embroidered yet. There was definitely a ‘spring set’ and a ‘summer set’ and a gap in between. It would have perhaps been easier if I had had a large garden to take daily inspiration from but my garden is quite the opposite, although some of my daily flowers were from my garden. Most of the time I was taking inspiration from areas of public planting and weeds in between the cracks in the pavement. I did get to visit a few formal planted gardens in the 100 days plus I did occasionally take a few sneaky pics of flowers in random front gardens (it always felt too sneaky to be doing that, so I didn’t do it often). What I enjoyed finding were places like a run down raised flower bed next to a run down council block, which at some point must have been really loved because it was a gorgeous mess of overgrown flowers, the Nigella flower from day 43 (can you spot the cat in the photo I took?) and the poppy from day 78 were from there, I think a few others too. I also grew to really appreciate how lovely the planting is outside a lot of pubs.
Days 26 to 50
So, what lessons have I learned from doing this? Well, aside from being ‘made’ to be deliberately mindful of how the flowers were changing from early spring to summer and learning to spot and appreciate flowers in places I wouldn’t have particularly noticed before, I now feel more confident with my drawing skills, particularly, funnily enough, when drawing flowers. The majority of the patterns were drawn in pencil first but the repeating patterns were done in Illustrator. I have learned that Mother Nature has some excellent colour schemes and at some point soon I need to sit down and make a note of particularly good colour combos that I liked because as well as obviously working with flowers, I think that the colours would look good in more abstract pieces too (I’m planning a blog post next week sometime on that). However, although I’ve got quite a collection of embroidery floss, it wasn’t always easy to find colours that matched. I have also learned that Mother Nature is not blinking symmetrical and although (most of the time) I tried to draw what I saw, with things like the poppy, I wish I had made the pattern more symmetrical because it just looked odd (in my eyes).
Days 51 to 75
Practically, I wished quite early on, that I hadn’t picked that blue fabric (blue sheeting) for this and I think that a lot of my designs would have looked crisper on a white background. I had chosen blue because I had a feeling (correct as it turned out), that I would be using a lot of white embroidery floss and I was concerned that it would not show up well on white fabric. What I could have done was used white for designs that didn’t include white floss and blue for those that did.
Time wise, fill stitching takes forever and you can see less of it as the project progresses because I just did not have the time to do it (about a month into the project I started a new job). I think a lot of my patterns would have looked nicer if I had filled stitched them, particularly if I had more time to do shading but you can’t do that in a day. For those curious and/or thinking of doing something similar in the future; the simplest patterns took just under an hour to draw, transfer and stitch, the more complex patterns, particularly those that I did fill stitch or the repeating patterns, took many, many hours, I almost don’t know what to with myself now that the project has finished.
Days 51 to 75
Can you spot the duplication? I tried to be so careful not to embroider the exact same species more than once but I realised that I did embroider curry plant twice, once from a photo I took in a formal garden I visited and once from a photo I took in my garden. In my defense, my curry plant looks far less healthy, so it took me quite a while to spot that they were both the same. I also did roses quite a lot because for a while, all there was to embroider that was ‘new’ was roses and embroidering roses is quite hard (well, I find it hard anyway).
Days 75 – 100
Would I do this again? Oh, I can so see myself being tempted by another 100 day project next time #the100dayproject rolls around but the sensible part of myself may be frantically talking myself out of it. This has taken a lot of time and it was sometimes quite frustrating when I struggled to find flowers to embroider or I didn’t have enough time to embroider the flowers as well as I would have liked. It was also sort of frustrating when as well as having days when I struggled to find flowers, there were days where there were so many possibilities and I was limited just to one.
However, as much as there were quite a few days where I felt distinctly meh about the flower embroidery that I made for that day, I loved experimenting, I loved seeing the infinite ways flowers express themselves in nature and the infinite ways that you can express that in embroidery. I love that I have reference material now for future flower embroideries because even with the meh flowers, there was often bits of them that I liked, I can take those bits and combine them into something new. This has definitely taught me the benefit of studying something, it doesn’t have to be flowers, it could be an x number of leaves or cars or buildings or animals or foods. I think that I will definitely challenge myself in the future to do, definitely not 100, but maybe 20 flowers in my favourite formal garden or 20 buildings or 20 birds and it wouldn’t be 1 a day either, I would take the time that I needed.
Days 76 to 100
So, what next? Well, I’m planning an ebook with my 20 favourite patterns from this, which will be released sometime at the end of this month, beginning of the next (more likely the latter). It will be for sale in my all too bare (currently) Etsy shop and I may (if I look into it a bit) be able to sell direct from here too, so keep an eye out and a big thank you to everyone who has followed along with this project (and thank you to #the100dayproject team too).