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  • After dropping off our son Ben to Foxlease campsite in the New Forest yesterday, I found a gem in Lyndhurst, a lovely little village in the south of England.

    At the Blue Belle Gallery, there was a permanent exhibition, Stitches in Time, of large hand embroidered panels. The artist is Heather Hems. She is about 70 years old, and her magnificent embroidery work is absolutely stunning.

    You can see more photos of Heather Hems' embroidery that I took in my blog post: Stitches in Time

    It’s a small gallery which summarises 100 years of embroidered history, topic including explorers, humanitarians, inventors, medicine, charities, final frontier, sports, our world, ballet & opera, musicals and many more.

    It has taken Heather 17 years, working an average 12 hours a day, to complete all 23 works of art — totalling 100 ft.

    Could you imagine that? 17 years of non-stop hard work and passion.

    I love the many well-coordinated colours with subtleties that Heather employed, and all fine details of beautiful stitches (though I can't even stitch my son's badges on his Scouts uniform neatly).

    Heather suffered from injury due to extensive needlework and required surgery in 1991. Heather said in an interview that one of the big panels was very heavy to hold and, eventually, “all the bones in my shoulder crumbled.”

    If you happen to visit the New Forest, make sure you visit the “Stitches in Time” Exhibition.

    While I was admiring the marvellous work of Heather, I was also thinking of Kiki Suarez's beautiful work through Cowbird. Suddenly I was travelling in a parallel world with two outstanding women, Heather Hems and Kiki Suarez.

    I love the stories behind both artists.

    Heather Hems was born in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). In her own words, Heather said, “My vision was to produce a unique pictorial record celebrating mankind and the amazing talents we as a race are blessed with.”

    Image: Celebration, 1991, by Heather Hems, Embroidery, from the “Stitches in Time” Exhibition at The Blue Belle Gallery, in Lyndhurst, New Forest.
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