1. brooch - black thread, 2. Embellishing and Stitch, 3. gocco printed/hand embroidered linen brooches, 4. tree brooch, 5. brooches, 6. Kitty Feltidermy Brooch On White, 7. brooch love, 8. Seascape brooches, 9. The Noble Gnatcatcher (original brooch pin), 10. my mums a hippie brooch, 11. starry-starry-night, 12. pie02
Embroidered brooches can be exquisite tiny works of art. The use of embroidery to decorate clothing has been around since people began wearing clothes. This ‘painting by needle’ has a fascinating history. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find information about the use of embroidery in jewellery prior to the Victorian era. However I’m sure it did exist. Evidence of the existence brooches dates back to the Bronze Age so there is no reason why the innovative would not have incorporated embroidery into these decorations.
The mosiac above of flickr photos shows the diversity of brooches being made by some of today’s artists. If you click on each one and go exploring I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. Cathy Cullis really does paint with her needle! Paperiaarre’s marrying of gocco prints with embroidery is innovative, and oh, what about that Feltidermy!
And of course, Etsy has a plethora of artists working in the embroidered brooch area. To me, though, a few really stand out. In the mosaic below, working left to right, we have Wiccked, Lilla Jizo, Crewelworled, Wearablesok, Blue Whimsy, Polyclarific, and WhimsiGals.
Melanie Cook of Wiccked describes the process of creating her piece, ‘Cocoon’ - 'Based on a piece of ivory felt, than a piece of muslin, frayed around the edges, embellished with seed beads, hex beads, glass beads, bugle beads in shades of white, pearl, cream, gold, and even copper, with soft white Australian merino wool fleece, gold organza ribbon, ivory cotton thread and gold metallic thread this design evolved as I stitched. I didn't really have an idea of what the finished design would be when I started. At some point I realised there was to be a cocoon inside the gold ribbon so I added more of the merino, and stitched it in with gold thread. Some of the frayed out threads from the muslin have also been stitched back on and couched, as more embellishment.'
Melanie's art work can be adapted to be used as a brooch, or even as a wall hanging. Similarly Lilla Jizo’s White Linen Jellyfish can really be anything you want it to be - a toy, a hanging, a pincushion, a brooch. Made from a vintage linen fabric and other recycled textiles, it has been embroidered and threaded with wooden beads.
Crewelworled, like most of these artists, uses no glue but sews all parts including the pin ‘I want it to last long enough for you to give it to your ornithologist grand daughter one day’, she says.
Wearablesok has a new ‘Victoria’ series of brooches that includes patchwork piecing, embroidery, and the addition of trinkets. Also using some quilting techniques is BlueWhimsy with her Finding My Way brooch. ‘Narrow strips of green and salmon silk were folded and woven together to form the foundation for this 3" x 3" pin - it is attached to a wool blend felt. The silk strips are embroidered with variegated silk thread and green yarn is couched to the silk.’
And there’s no end to the creativity of these artists. Amanda Hunt from Poly Clarific has firstly drawn a design and then had this carved into a stamp by fellow Etsy seller Tamptation. The hand stamped design has then been worked back into with hand embroidery before being backed and slightly filled with acrylic stuffing.
Kathleen from WhimsiGals took inspiration from the figurine discovered by Josef Szombathy near Willendorf in 1908 to create her Woman of Willendorf brooch. Embroidered on tan salt washed fabric, this goddess wears a headdress of beads.
Although not an Etsy seller, the last space is reserved for Debbie Bryan, a UK artist. Debbie places vintage textiles and hand embroidery under resin in her latest collection of brooches. Bryan’s pieces may be just tiny works but she’s big business in the world of art jewellery.
I don’t wear a lot of jewellery, but I’d love to fill a wall with these tiny treasures!