The multi-talented Michael Chandler of Chandler House designed our current Facebook cover image, which depicts a Cape-style winter scene. In light of the seasonal change that we’re busy experiencing, we asked Michael to give us his interpretation of a winter’s day, which he amalgamated with his love for embroidery. The end result is absolutely gorgeous and reflects only one of this artist’s many talents. Michael compiled the following blurb to explain his passion for threads:
Needlework has been in my life since I was little boy growing up in the Eastern Cape, surrounded by older female figures. Descended from 1820 settler stock, all of these aunties and grannies were well-practiced in the crafts of flower arranging, biscuit baking and hand-work. Combined with school holidays spent on isolated family farms and sea cottages, it didn’t take long until I was exploring these creative techniques.
Fast forward 20 years and my family’s embroidery heritage is thriving through my mum’s small embroidery company which she runs from home. Learning to use her high-end machinery enabled me to explore and experiment myself in a new, contemporary way. This machinery allows me to do things in thread that simply wouldn’t be possible in the traditional hand-stitched way.
The first design I did was a very simple silhouetted bird which I thought would make a fun cushion for our veranda. Starting with this simple design, I have gone on to do more ambitious projects such as the VOC plate, a mosaic portrait and coral designs.
Each design brings its own challenges: stitch type, direction, density and the colour of the thread all have to be chosen very thoughtfully so that the final effect does justice to the original idea and design.
For the House and Leisure Facebook cover image, I chose to do a contemporary take on a traditional Georgian sampler. These samplers were ‘wrought’ by young English girls to record all the different types of stitches that they had learnt. These would then be put together in one glorious design which traditionally featured a house, floral motifs and a biblical verse. They would also be signed and dated by the girl who made it.
My version of the sampler is a Cape-orientated one. I have replaced the Georgian home with a typical gabled Cape homestead. I have broken with tradition and given depth to the work by depicting a wine farm located behind the home, complete with mountains and trees. The bare tree houses a few birds, while below it an unidentified animal waits outside the house. Rows of plants line the foreground which hints at the nature of the land being a Cape farm.
If you want to see how our previous renovations-inspired cover image created by the wonderful Mariette Bergh came about, you can read more about her work here…