I love to dye fabric, make thread pictures and quilt. I live in the Yukon on an acreage with my husband, 2 dogs and 34 fish. It's the 'good' life.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Very First Thread Painted Piece

Back in the old days (2010) I literally stumbled across an artist whose work was so outstanding it was instrumental in leading me into thread painted art.  Alison Holt is an English textile artist who does the most beautiful thread paintings I have ever seen. I have all of her books and her DVD.
Alison Holt-Reflections in Water

Alison Holt-Summer Sky

If you are interested, you can watch some video clips of her work. Over the past 2 years I have received several signed copies of Ms Holt's books and I will never, ever lend them out or give them away. Yes, I am a huge, huge dorky fan. 

So after painstakingly watching the video, reading her books and practising for 10 minutes, I created this piece:

The top picture is the photo I used to create the painting in the bottom. I look at my painting and remember how proud I was of the completed work. It took hours and hours to do. I tried so hard and did the best I possibly could. Of course looking back I see the errors--I didn't use the right colours, the stems and leaves are unrecognisable and the flower heads have no comparison in nature. I 'may' recognize these as cow parsley (as it is called in England).

I have kept this piece in its natural state to show to my thread classes. I tell them that they CAN make thread art and be proud of it. Not everything has to be able to win a national competition. And the best part? I got better and better with practice. I will never be as good as Alison Holt and that's OK too. I still love to make thread paintings..


  1. Beautiful! Yes - I recently got some of her publications this summer. My machine can't zigzig & free motion though. I'd need an older machine like hers. Do you sew without a darning foot like her?? : ) That looks dangerous. lol

    I also love Jan Beaney... And locally, Margot Lindsay. They both incorporate a lot of hand stitching. There are so many great stitchers in the UK.

    thread thread thread.... : )

  2. Hey Monika--I knew if anyone would 'get it', it would be you... I love the Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. I could kick myself because they taught in Alaska a few years ago and I just didn't go.

    As to Alison Holt, I don't think I could sew without a darning foot--it DOES look dangerous, you're right...

  3. Thank you for those links. Very interesting stuff. The first time I saw thread painting up close was years ago at the One of a Kind Show in Toronto by an artist called Bonnie Baker from Nova Scotia. I still have a postcard that shows one of her pictures.

  4. I have several of Bonnie Baker's postcards as well! Thanks for reminding me of her work--I am going back to Nova Scotia next year and will try to remember to see if I can see her work in person. She must have made quite an impression for you to remember her thread work years later...

  5. Yes she did. Her work showed her sense of humour too. I was awed by the fact that you could do such a thing with thread. I did google her company name "Thread Barer Designs" just out of curiosity to see if she had a website but nothing. Ah well.