This an update about my progress with the embroidery element of my wider project ‘Freedom is Fragile’. 

I have been exploring the idea of producing a range of crewel embroideries depicting women in various states of freedom – so taking a more positive approach to the project rather than focusing on the limitations we place on ourselves, or the social, political and economic limitations affecting women’s lives. (I am not abandoning these aspects at all – just focusing on the positive for a change).

I wanted to create a series of very small freedom images to capture the fragility of those free moments and decided to frame these in metal jewellery findings. I have been exploring different ways to do this using different types of thread and different materials.

I had varying results and was not entirely happy with them although towards the end of the year I felt I was getting closer to getting them right. I’ve included a some initial very rough sketches and a few of the experiments here.

freedom to play

After becoming unhappy with the results of the small freedoms I decided to do a bigger version in a hoop to see if size was the problem. I had to rethink the design a bit because I had previously kept them fairly simple due to the sizing.

So I drew a prototype of ‘Freedom to sing’. On transferring to a larger embroidery the limited facial features did not really work so in the end I added more features which I think worked fairly well.

I really like the dress (inspired by Klimt’s Beethoven frieze) so this is the very first embroidery that I will be keeping for myself. In the end she changed from freedom to sing to ‘freedom to dance‘.

I am still working on the series and hope to develop an approach that works for the small freedoms. I was going to make loads and share them out as presents but they are not ready yet so more work is needed.