Embroidered Illustrations for my Grandmother’s Poems

This Textiles Art project is based on my grandmother’s book of poems that my brother illustrated and printed a few years back. The book contains a selection of poems that she has written throughout her life. The book is now sold to raise money for Alzheimer’s research, a charity close to my grandmother’s heart. With my grandmother passing away suddenly only last summer, I have been looking to make a sentimental piece in her honour. With her being such a big influence in my passion for textiles, and her encouragement and excitement for my studies at the Royal School of Needlework, I thought it important for me to carry on telling her stories and thoughts. This is why I tried to illustrate some of these poems through textiles and reflects the emotions that she successfully conveyed  thought  her poems.


This is my grandmother’s book of poems that my brother illustrated back in 2014. You can check out some of his work at https://hugopapiernik.wordpress.com/

To start off, I choose two of my grandmother’s poems. As this project is part of my 2 nd term at uni, I decided to link this textiles art project to my two previous ones by choosing nature-based poems. I decided to turn towards the more organic, rough and earthy colours that we find within the heart of the earth instead of the colourful floral designs I was creating earlier. The colour palette that I choose is the biggest contrast between my 3 projects, these are thoughtful, reflective that spring is over and more serious thoughts enter heads.  The art pieces are based on the cross sections of tree trunks, the intersection between going upwards, to a beautiful, fleeting and ephemeral  quality of life, and downwards to our passed and the roots that join us all. In her poems, my grandmother repeatedly illustrates the characters that trees have, strength, stability, longevity and connection to the earth itself, which were all emotions I tried hard to convey in my illustrations.

Divine Plants 

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The pagans worshiped trees.

With good reason, as each year,

God like, they endure apparently

Death and resurrection.


Urban trees amaze me.

Poisoned air adds to the natural pain

Of winter cold and summer drought.

And still they breath.


Acorns and conkers fall on sterile tarmac,

With no hope of germination.

But, each year trees produce

Bud, flower, seed and leaf.


Proud and majestic.

A symbol of endurance, hope,

And the stoicism we seem to

Expect in our deities.


Strong and beautiful.

Living for centuries.

Amazing and fabulous,

An example to all.


Why did we need to invent another God,

And give him human form,

When we already had trees?




Conversation  2O13 


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I like to lean against a tree.

Dark, rough, sweet smelling

columns of growing wood.

Above, like spokes in a wheel,

Strong branches radiate.

Preparing for a future, man- made fate?

Impossibly delicate twigs


filigree fans,

Which sing to the sky.

Sighing, whispering.

A strong wind makes the branches creak.

Even the trunk moans.

But the deep roots don’t groan.

I listen to the tree.

And I listen with the tree,

To the heartbeat of the earth.

Which listens constantly

To every sound we make.


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