Saturday, February 18, 2006

There are very few of us who do not enjoy a beautiful rose, with its subtle colouring and delicate fragrance.
We manage to grow a few roses on Norfolk Island, but they do not thrive as well as they would in a climate with a cooler winter. Where our daughter lives in Matamata, New Zealand, they almost seem to grow like weeds. When our granddaughter Emily was born, the midwife gave Trevor the placenta in a plastic bag, and suggested he bury it in the garden and plant something over it. The climbing rose he planted on top of it was truly rampant, with prolific blooms!.
The rose in the picture grows in many older Norfolk gardens. Some rose fanciers will recognise it as "Souvenir de Malmaison". However, we call it the "Bice" rose, because it was evidently introduced to Norfolk by a Charles Bice, who was one of the workers in the Melanesian Mission, which had its headquarters on Norfolk from the 1860's to 1920. There were actually a number of exotic and useful plants introduced at this time, by the Mission staff who were mostly English, and perhaps missed the cottage gardens they were used to back in England.
Around St Barnabas Chapel itself, many exotic trees were planted, and many of these are now magnifent and mature specimens.
Back to roses, which are much loved by both gardeners and craftsmen, including embroiderers.
Grub roses and silk ribbon roses are a great stand-by for embellishing all sorts of projects.
I was wanting to portray roses in crazy patchwork, so I experimented with a stitch and flip technique, and later embellished the roses with lots of embroidery and beads.

It was quite some time after I had made these bags (I made a couple in a purple/mauve version) that I saw the same piecing technique on the cover of a book by Valori Wells in a catalogue. Perhaps I had unconsciously got my inspiration from seeing this book advertised somewhere in the first place. But then again, I was quite capable of dreaming it up for myself!

Now I would like to work out a way of making the flowers look a little more "organic", with softer edges. Perhaps I could use a combination of "stitch and flip" piecing and applique.

A number of these roses, in different shades and colours, would look wonderful in a wallhanging.

1 comment:

beche-la-mer said...

Mary, I love these roses and, if I had more time, I would be very tempted to use this technique myself. I think the geometric look of the piecing adds a traditional "crazy" touch, which I love.

The fabrics you used are gorgeous too, and the graduating colours...

I'm very jealous.

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