We have been busy! As has become customary over the past few years here at the Crewel Work Company, over the past few months we have been working up to a significant Autumn release ready to hit our store in a few days.
Our new Aesop's designs for 2020 represent the culmination of many years of Phillipa's study of historic textiles and of her fond memories of Aesop’s classic tales. The ancient Aesop's Fables, believed to have been written by a slave in ancient Greece between 620 and 564, have been retold through the centuries. Through the Aesop’s Fables design, Phillipa has illustrated some of the animals and birds in the stories and introduced these creatures to her grandchildren, stitch-by-stitch.
"I have been designing and embroidering the Aesop's Fables Mirror Frame for the past three years, reworking the stitches and colours and trialling small areas of the design with our kit tester Harriet and with my family. As each grandchild has seen one of the animals being stitched for the first time, they have become part of the creation of this piece even 'claimed' their animal such as Ophelia's Fox. Ophelia, then aged four, made some of the very first crewel work stitches in the spritely fox".
Phillipa has used her extensive Arts & Crafts crewel work research to incorporate the classic stitches used by embroiderers from this period. This attention to detail ensures an historically accurate reinterpretation of design, stitches and techniques of the Arts & Crafts Movement. This dedication to historical accuracy is seen in the choice of threads - Appletons Wools are complemented by the addition of conservation standard De Vere silks and fine hand-dyed organic wool yarns from the Renaissance wool range.
The colour pallet is classic Arts & Crafts, with autumnal shades of sage greens, soft ochre yellows, fawns and browns, all embellished with highlights of silk in colours from the palette of Phoebe Anna Traquair.
Inspired by the Arts & Crafts movement pieces in castles, historic houses and museums, as well as those within our own crewel work collection, these new designs set the animals of Aesop's original tales into a British style.
Phillipa chose to make her first Aesop's stitched piece into a mirror frame. but it could equally suit an Arts & Crafts wall clock and this is what she intends to do with a second frame also stitched during the development of the kit.
The individual animals will also have a life of their own. During the Spring and Summer of 2020, many people took up a hand sewing needle for the first time. With this in mind, we have done our best to make this large design more accessible to new entrants to embroidery. The 11 animals will therefore be available as a set of individual kits on subscription, designed as a crewel work course beginning with the simplest animal, the squirrel, to the most challenging, the peacock.
The Aesop's Animals subscription will be available as a monthly plan with an initial delivery of all your wools, silks, needles and instructions followed by a beautiful animal design linen each month for next 11 months. We hope you love this impressive design as much as we do and that the way we have structured the availability of the kit allows both experienced and beginner embroiderers to give it a go.
Watch Phillipa introducing the Aesop's Fables design.