Ten years ago my dream was to become a tattoo artist. Since leaving college I spent every waking minute drawing ideas, researching the history of tattoos, practising my technique, until I got to the point where I had created my very own tattoo portfolio. I contacted as many tattoo studios as I could in the hopes of becoming an apprentice, but there were many knockbacks, actually they were all knockbacks. Being young, naive and suffering with an almighty case of non existent self esteem, I did what many young artists have done, I gave up. I stopped drawing, I decided this was a stupid hopeless dream and threw all my drawings away and got a job at the first mediocre sales position I could find.
Fast forward eight years, and I have done many things with my time. Still working those 9-5 jobs, but I spent every spare minute trying to stay creative. Two years ago I was house bound with a fractured hip. I could not work, and was waiting for a date to have a hip replacement, so I had plenty of time on my hands. I began drawing again. At first I drew mandalas as I found them very therapeutic. Before I knew it I filled a number of sketchbooks full of these designs and wondered if there was something more productive I could do with them.
A few months later my mum dropped off an old box of sewing stuff. This box was bursting with needles, brightly coloured silk threads and other trinkets. I had the idea to use these pretty threads to draw with, and so I made my first embroidered mandala. I have never embroidered before. I didn’t know at the time there was a technique to this art, and let me tell you my first pattern was pretty terrible, but I loved it! I found the idea of drawing with thread such a beautiful concept, and I was able to do it all while sitting and waiting for my surgery.
During the summer holidays, while I was recovering with my new hip, I was brainstorming some ideas for a new embroidery project. I came across some of my old tattoo sketches. It’s funny to look back at old drawings with mature eyes. I now know why I was never chosen to become a tattoo apprentice, I wasn’t very good! But I still loved the idea of drawing tattoo designs, so I began to sketch out new ideas to turn into embroidered patches. I decided on ten old school sailor Jerry inspired tattoo designs, and scavenged my brightest threads.
Almost two months later, many cups of tea and a few bleeding fingers my project is complete. Looking at all of my creations I know I still have a lot to learn about embroidery, but the thought of merging my two passions has been so exciting. I sometimes envy people who have a passion for one thing, but I have realised that my passion is being creative. I love to make beautiful things, I love to experiment and find new materials to create with. I may never be one of the lucky ones who can earn a living from their passion, but I will never give up being inspired to create.
My old school inspired hand embroidered patches are now available to buy in my Etsy store. Add me on instagram to follow my new projects. If you would like your favourite tattoo design or drawing turned into a patch please get in touch.