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Embroidered Patch 

By Nikki B - Guild Member

In 2023, I was the recipient of the Guild scholarship. I took an embroidery workshop called "Mystic Stitches" run by Christi Johnson,  - her website for more information.

In this workshop we were guided to create a stitch sampler exploring all of the different stitches and their use. It was fascinating to see how a simple running stitch can be used for outlining a shape and adding texture.

The 4 week online workshop was a mix of pre-recorded video and live Q and A sessions. Each week participants were given different stitches to practice on their sampler. Other videos explored materials, transferring, composition, colour, etc. Christi had lots of examples, modern and historical, highlighting different aspects of embroidery design.

My favorite part was when she talked about turning embroidery into a talisman. A symbol that has protective or empowering qualities. 

Talismans or good luck charms are cross cultural. We all have different symbols that we ascribe meaning to. The evil eye is found in many cultures as a protective symbol. The four-leaf clover and horse shoe are symbols of good luck. Symbols are everywhere once you start to notice them. A heart or rose can remind us to love and a white dove makes us think of peace. We can also have personal symbols, things that have special meaning only to us. Maybe butterflies remind you of your grandmother or a child that has passed.  

Talismans are small patches that can be added to your clothing as a way of adding intention or protection to your daily life. Maybe you sew an evil eye onto the back of your coat to protect your back.

Maybe you sew a symbol of peace onto the inside of your skirt pocket to give you strength during difficult times. These reminders can be hidden, for your eyes only, or worn on your sleeve for others to see.

So how do you choose what to embroider? It is hard to know where to start!

In Christi Johnson's beautiful book Mystic Stitches she goes over various symbols, plants, and animals that inspire you to get your creative juices flowing. Symbol dictionaries and spiritual texts can be very helpful. Fairytales, ancient mythology, and medieval drawings are great places for inspiration. You can also look to your inner world, your dreams and imagination to see what wants to come through you.

One practice I love to do is an active imagination journey and then stitch a symbol that comes up in the journey. Active imagination is when you close your eyes and allow yourself to get into a meditative state while you listen to a recording. This is a powerful technique to help you interact with your unconscious mind. You can find some on my YouTube channel -

Happy Stitching



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