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Monday, 21 July 2014

Art Deco Bird Cross Stitch Pattern

One of my favourite sources of inspiration is old books. I am lucky that the love of old books runs in the family so I have plenty to browse when I'm looking for new ideas. There has been debate in recent years about whether books will become obsolete with the growing popularity of digital literature. Not as long as there are people like me in the world they won't! I find the suggestion quite ridiculous. I love everything about old books: the texture of their covers, the artwork, the fonts and of course that smell of the pages of a book that has been loved and cared for by several generations of readers and bibliophiles.
My next few blog posts will be about some of my designs which have been inspired by various lovely old books. The first is my Art Deco Bird pattern which was inspired by an illustration in a children's story anthology published in the 1930s. The copyright page shows two stylised birds, one on either side of the list of contributors. I am not certain exactly what they are but they are clearly some kind of birds of prey. They are created by using simple shapes and art deco motifs. My cross stitch version is worked mainly in black with a few touches of gold to give a hint of art deco opulence.
This anthology contains a large number of short stories and poems, many by very well-known authors such as Sir Walter Scott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Robert Louis Stevenson and Frances Hodgson Burnett. I was quite excited when I came across a story by Hans Christian Andersen entitled The Red Shoes, which is about a little girl called Karen. I had a pair of red shoes when I was little and I've known for a while that my name is Danish so I was eager to read what happened to my namesake in this story.
I was expecting there to be magic but I wasn't prepared for how shocking it is in places! I won't give away the ending but it's a moral tale about pride and selfishness. I will now think twice before buying any more red shoes!

All photos (c) Karen Eley 2014

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