Joan Brailsford – Nature #2

Wild plants – Fireweed

My inspiration for this second wild plant, is Rose bay Willow Herb, also known as Fireweed. As well as growing in the countryside, it also appears on urban waste ground and amongst derlict buildings. It’s bright colour and tenacity in these circumstances reminds me that nature will always prevail if it is given half a chance.

I used a collage of papers, scraps of fabric and printed sheers to create the background that I wanted to suggest neglected structures,  dilapidation, and encroaching decay. I used coloured tissuetex to create the subtler plants which I hand-stitched to the background, so that these gave a sort of ‘middle ground’. I then made bright flowers from small pieces of fabric, and attached these only at the centre so that they stand proud of the surface and give a raised foreground. My intention was to create a 3D effect as in my first wild plant piece.

The stems, leaves and other details are hand stitched.  I used straight lines of machine quilting in the ‘buildings’ and small circles of free machine quilting in the ‘sky’.

Detail views:


Original photo:



  1. Wow, Joan this is a work of art. You are to be commended on your collage approach and use of different mediums a very bold approach. The design is exactly as you described. Bravo

  2. Chantal Guillermet

    This is so beautiful Joan ! the mix of fabric, sheer fabric and paper is perfectly done as well as your embroideries ! you have created such a romantic atmosphere.

  3. carolinehiggs

    Stunning work Joan! Rosebay Willow herb takes me back to damp summers in the Scottish borders! I just love the way that you have constructed the background then added the vegetation, I am in awe!

  4. The background construction with these various collages is a marvel. Adding your embroideries really highlights this beautiful work. Congratulations!

  5. Love your mixed media approach to this beautiful piece. Love those 3D flowers and their bright colors. Your hand stitching really takes this to another level, so well done!! Lov’it.

  6. Amazing work with a really beautiful result. This is lovely in all respects with many techniques used to such great effect. Excellent.

  7. Awesome work Joan. Love the collaged background with the printed papers.
    Your flowers are beautiful and your hand stitching of the vegetation complements it all. Bravo!!!

  8. studiociboulette

    Such and enchanted piece. Beautiful colors and details. Such delicateness. Bravo!

  9. I really like what you created. Wonderful. The use of papers adds a contemporary flavor and I definitely adore the flowers . The delicate pink gives a completely different feeling from trash and destruction. perfect

  10. The collaged neglected structures makes for the perfect background to highlight the new growth surrounding them. The delicate hand embroidered stems, twigs and flowers gives depth, dimension and life to your composition. Beautiful combination of techniques and color, love it!

  11. I am almost always drawn in by mixed media. Your background with its use of text is fascinating and the flowers are beautiful. Fabulous!

  12. So much attention to the smallest details! Beautiful piece, well done.

  13. I love this piece!!! The background is so very nice and the flowers so beautiful! It’s excellent!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: