Who are you?
Hi there! I'm Daisy Sheldon, a freelance embroiderer, creating bespoke pieces for fashion, film, theatre and interiors. I also have my own bridal and lingerie collection of embroidered wedding veils and boudoir wear.
How does a working day looks like for you?
I love health, fitness and wellbeing. So I usually go to the gym most mornings before I start work to do a workout session, which makes me feel energised and sets me up for the working day. Then, the first thing I do in the studio is check and respond to my emails and consult my diary with the list of things to be done for the day. I love a to do list, ticking things off is the best feeling! Each day is unique, due to the bespoke nature of my work; so some days I am working on embroidering monograms or wedding veils and others I can be working on something completely different like costume embroidery for theatre productions!
Can you describe your workspace?
My workspace is usually tidy (tidy home, tidy mind!) which I find helps me be creative and produce ideas, like a blank canvas! I come from a family of collectors and we have always surrounded ourselves with an eclectic cabinet of curiosities. So my workspace is full of vintage object trouves and textiles, from vintage sewing ephemera lined up along the top of my fireplace to old tins on shelves and letterpress trays hung on the walls, housing all of my embroidery threads.
Your work is absolutely exquisite and my favourite piece is the Japanese Dreams Kimono. Can you tell us about it?
The Japanese Dreams kimono was a culmination of inspiration from Japanese culture and the idea of the 1930's boudoir. The bedroom was transformed in the 1930's to the decadent boudoir, influenced by the glamour of Hollywood, turning it into a personal, intimate chamber of luxury. The kimono exudes this sense of sensual, feminine, luxuriousness and romance evident in the birth of the boudoir.
The kimono was also inspired by Japanese traditions, imagery and the notion of traditional Japanese packaging.Traditional Japanese packaging holds both beauty and charm was often made by individual inventors, each one of them, the product of a single persons ingenuity. The packaging has two roles, one serves to protect the contents inside and another role lies in the Japanese holding the belief that a commodity should not be merely packaged for the sake of convenience; it should be packaged with a certain style that attracts the buyer or person who receives the 'gift'.
Drawing visual inspiration from Japanese paintings, old silk embroideries and natural forms, such as wisteria, the kimono is hand painted and adorned with silk wisteria petals, hand sewn onto the sleeves and back. These petals flutter gently with movement, echoing back to the beautiful nature they were inspired by and giving the feeling of elegance to the wearer.
Do you craft everything to order? Is every piece unique?
Yes, every piece is made to order to each individual's specific requirements. Each piece I make is unique, due to the nature of Cornely and Irish embroidery, which enables me to 'draw' onto fabric, with the same mark-making freedom that a painter uses a paint brush, or a sculptor embraces form.
This process of spending time meticulously embroidering a piece gives it value that only these traditional processes have, each piece an artwork in itself. These hand guided embroidery machines contrast to the computerised digital embroidery mostly used nowadays to create mass produced products, which eliminate the opportunity for spontaneity and the work being produced by ones' individual hand.
English Birds Veil
Do you have a favourite among the pieces you've made? If, so which one and why?
My favourites change all the time, as I am constantly creating new pieces. At the moment it would probably be the 'English Birds' wedding veil. This veil features a traditional scallop edge with an English rose and forget me not design. English birds in subtle pastel colours swoop and frolic amongst the intertwined swirling branches and rose vines, which trail elegantly up the veil.
I love the idea of wedding veils that are different from the traditional style. Lace tends to be very structured and uniform, which is beautiful, but I would like to create some more asymmetrical designs. I am hugely inspired by oriental textiles, nature and botanical aspects, so expect to see more veils pushing the boundaries of traditional 'bridal wear', with scenes of peacocks, beautiful wild flowers climbing up veils and exquisite colours (not just white or ivory!).
"I am proud to preserve a technique that
could otherwise, sadly, become a dying art."
Can you tell us about the machine and techniques you use?
I use old, rare embroidery machines to create my work, including a 1920's Cornely machine (named Beryl!) and an Irish machine. The Cornely creates a beautiful, decorative chain stitch and the Irish is for free-hand satin stitch embroidery, a bit like drawing with stitch! The embroidery produced is arguably superior to more recent techniques both in terms of creativity and quality. I am proud to preserve a technique that could otherwise, sadly, become a dying art.
Why did you decide to create your website with Portfoliobox?
Portfoliobox is great because it is so easy to use and you can make your website so personal and unique. I am a perfectionist and I am always trying to improve my website and the portfoliobox team have been amazingly helpful with accommodating my technical requests and have really helped me tailor the website to my individual needs. Thank you to all the team for your ongoing help!
Daisy Sheldon | Freelance Embroiderer, based in Cheltenham and working throughout the UK
Facebook: Daisy Sheldon Embroidery