Many garden club ladies enjoy crafts, so it’s a good exercise to find those that intersect with or enhance parts of our mission. Two of those aspects are “beautification of the environment” and “enhancement of skills”. In this case, we are speaking of one traditionally feminine craft that can serve to make our home interiors attractive through art display while honing our powers of observation of plants and flowers…
Have you ever seen truly fine examples of silk ribbon embroidery that mimic the real-life appearance of specific flowers? Most of us no longer spend time on the “homely arts” but can enjoy looking at the masterful work of others. I really appreciate when someone manages to recreate in another medium, in this case using needle arts, a realistic approximation of form and color. Although I had toyed with cross-stitch and thread embroideries throughout my life, I had no idea of the capacity of the medium using ribbon until I came across this book, A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox, in our library. Her work was like looking at 3D botanical paintings. It was obvious that she had spent time looking at the gradations of color in stems, leaves and flowers to hand color her silk ribbons. To replicate the plant form accurately, the way petals opened and leaves attach to stems also indicates botanical study in real life, photos and drawings.
This book is set up as a project guide for beginners, a tutorial of techniques used to make beautiful flowers. She shows and explains tools and materials used, how to paint ribbons and the background to enhance the effect on your fabric. Of course, the stitches used and how to gather the ribbon into forms are also shown. The photography in the book is the most appealing part because it makes you marvel at what is possible to achieve if you are drawn to try this art form.
Here is an example of ribbon art seen on an Etsy site:
Another artist, Di van Niekirk does silk ribbon with embroidery stitching and has a number of U-Tube videos showing how to make various silk ribbon flowers. Here is an example of her work–kind of a botanical sampler–and a link to one video you can watch.
Here is the Amazon link to A-Z Silk Flowers. where you can Look Inside! at her masterful work.