A Rose Window in fabric and stitch.

It won't come as any surprise if you know me from Instagram or Dreaming In Stitches to hear that I'm deeply attracted to stained glass windows. For some time I've been trying out techniques and materials in an effort to bring something of the essence of stained glass into my stitch work.

Rose Window: a hand-stitched textile work incorporating fabric and threads on a linen scrim canvas.

Rose Window: a hand-stitched textile work incorporating fabric and threads on a linen scrim canvas.

It was always extremely difficult to do so when I was working exclusively in hand-stitched needlepoint, relying on the nature of the threads to add lustre and shine, either using silks or metallic yarns. But in recent months I've been broadening my practice to explore a wider application of stitch and now incorporating fibres and materials.

This is the first piece that's come together which begins to have an element of the translucence I'm seeking. 

What I'm discovering is that by varying the types of fabric, from opaque cottons, through glossy silks to fine organza and by overstitching all the fabrics with silk and metallic threads, I'm able to create a piece that works with the light.

In the same way that a stained glass window will look different depending on the level of light coming through the glass or the amount of light inside the building, the stitched work which has become heavily textural from dense stitching catches light in unexpected and unpredictable ways.

I'm encouraged by the results, I wouldn't say I'd achieved what I see in my mind's eye, but at last I'm beginning to find ways to experiment that I hope will bring me closer to my goal.

There's one problem though which is giving me a bit of a headache. I'm finding it difficult to photograph these dimensional pieces in ways that give a good reproduction of the actual piece in the flesh. It's not helped by living in a north-facing house with tricky windows, but I guess that's just part of the exploration process - and I've always wanted to learn more about taking photos!

Watch this space, there will be more stained glass inspired work to come.


I'm always delighted to talk about textile art and all things stitchy. Do leave a comment or get in touch.