Joan Brailsford – Nature #1

Wild plants – Butterbur

My inspiration, from many of my countryside walks, is the large, lush leaves of the Butterbur plant, nestled in a surrounding of smaller wild flowers.

I created the large Butterbur leaves by cutting the rough shapes of the leaves from commercial fabric, then backing these with wadding which I blanket stitched in place around the edges. I then handstitched the viens onto the leaves to add detail and to quilt the leaves, giving them a more lush feel.

I used hand dyed fabric as the background, but I wasn’t quite happy with the colours, so I painted and printed in a random fashion until I was happy that it gave me the abstract notion of wild flowers that I wanted. I added more abstract details by stitching fine stalks and random chain stitches to hint at flowers and leaves in the background. I used machine quilting at the bottom to suggest the rippled reflections in the water (where Butterbur loves to grow), and at the the top to define the sky.

I added the quilted leaves onto the top of the piece, but left the edges of the leaves loose to give a more 3D effect, and to emphasise the size of the leaves. I also allowed the leaves to extend a little beyond the edge of the quilt, to further accentuate the effect.


Close up views:


Original photo:


  1. Chantal Guillermet

    The 3D effect of your leaves make them so real ! you have created a real harmony between the colour of the leaves and the one of your background.

  2. Your colour palette works really well to create a feeling of tranquility . I love the way that you have overlapped the leaves to create the 3D of the leaves in the foreground.

  3. Fantastic way to create the 3D nature of the leaves. Lovely colours in the background to compliment the leaves. Bravo

  4. You managed very well to create the three-dimensional effect. The touch of the spill from the edge accentuates the impact even more. Beautiful and delicate background work that complements your work. Bravo!

  5. You managed to create a realistic work. The leaves look real and the use of soft colors to create the landscape is very beautiful. great stitching.

  6. Joan, your leaves look really wonderful. I love your hand embroidered and stitched background too. Very effective, very well done.

  7. The leaves are wonderful and I love the 3D effect.

  8. What a beautiful piece. I love the colours you used. It gives me a feeling of spring. Your printing of the flowers is very effective and I love the adding of the subtle embroidery for the stalks and flowers. The leaves are gorgeous and the 3D effect is further enhanced by allowing the leaves to continue beyond the borders. Top!!

  9. I love your large 3D leaves and the delicate flowery background. Beautiful and so peaceful.

  10. I love the 3D effect of the leaves. And as usual your hand embroidery is beautiful! Very effective.

  11. The 3D effect you created makes the large leaves stand out beautifully. The hand stitching of the veins makes them look so realistic! Love that painterly effect of the background. Beautiful piece!

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