The starting point for the whole colour scheme was this embroidery, Happy Family and especially the 'Father'. The Father is embroidered entirely in black and white silk and gold metallic. The Mother is worked in pink and white silk with silver metallic. My idea is to embroider my Mother and Father butterflies in these colours and that each of the butterflies representing my brothers and myself will include something in a colour from each of the parent butterflies. I have had more ideas for the design of the Father than any other butterfly, but what I now intend to embroider is unlike any of my original concepts. The inspiration for what I have planned comes from a book called The Fine Art of Kimono Embroidery. The author, Shizuka Kusano, is an incredibly talented artist, her medium is embroidery and her canvases are (mostly) kimonos. A google search revealed lots of links to reviews of the book but I could only find two sites with examples of her work, here and here (you need to scroll down in both cases). I don’t have a sketch of my design, but I have a clear picture in my head - I hope that it works out the way I see it.
Although the colour scheme came from 'Happy Family', black and white is so appropriate for my Dad; he has very strong views on things. There are no shades of grey where Dad is concerned; a thing is one way or another, right or wrong, good or bad. Gold is also appropriate because he has a heart of gold (he just tries to keep it hidden). Growing up with my Dad was difficult and he and I often fell out, especially during my teens/twenties when I formed some strong opinions of my own. Even when relations between us were strained, I still knew that he was my champion in life - he is fiercely loyal. Once I made a rather silly mistake and got myself in a fix. I was really scared to tell him about my predicament; I thought that he would be extremely angry and disappointed in me. In fact I should have know that he would react exactly the way he did. He told me that although my situation was bad, it was not the end of the world and that we would be able to sort it out. He stood by me and supported me through the difficult months that followed, and eventually he told me to stop being angry and disappointed in myself and to put the past behind me. More than anyone, my Dad has made me the person I am today.
Over twenty years ago, Dad was suddenly taken ill and within days had a triple heart by-pass. At that time, his surgeon said that might live another 5-10 years. Since then, there have been times when we didn’t think he would make the next Wedding Anniversary let alone his Golden Wedding Anniversary. I am really grateful for the extra years we have had, it has given me an opportunity to get to know him and for us to develop a friendship and a more loving bond that I could have imagined possible. I still have hang ups about some aspects of my childhood and we still strongly debate some issues. I’m not sure if it is because he has mellowed or if it is because I have matured, or perhaps it is because we have each realised that other loves us, but we no longer fall out whenever we disagree.
© Jennifer Ashley Taylor/Carol-Anne Conway
All the gold on this design will be stitched in real gold; after all it is a Golden Wedding Anniversary gift. I have been told that real gold is much nice to stitch with than imitation metallic threads. I have padded the head with two layers of flat silk before stitching a final layer in #1 real gold.