Trish Burr is a Cape Town-based designer, author and teacher of hand embroidery. Specialising in Needlepainting and Whitework patterns, her artistic designs have inspired many to take up the craft. She has published 8 books, the latest of which has been published in collaboration with The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Her online shop offers Needlepainting and Whitework patterns, embroidery materials and tutorials for all levels from beginner to advanced.
Trish’s motto is “Embroidery forever, housework whenever”, one that we, here at the Crewel Work Company agree with wholeheartedly!
Ahead of our 2021 Lady Anne’s Needlework Festival, we caught up with Trish to find out more about her needlework passions.
Why and how did you become a needlework tutor? Did anyone or thing, in particular, inspire you?
I wanted to share my style of embroidery and dispel fears of Needlepainting. I did a correspondence course with the Embroiderers’ Guild of America (EGA) – at that time, about 20 years ago, there were no online classes so the assignments went backwards and forwards by post. My mentor encouraged me to go out and teach, then I was invited by our embroidery guild to do a workshop. The rest is history!
What is your main needlework interest?
Needlepainting embroidery is my main interest. I have devoted years to finding a method that is simpler but works. I love mixing it up with a bit of French Whitework La Broderie Blanche, which I call Whitework with colour.
Do you have a favourite stitch?
My favourites are long & short stitch.
If you had to choose one needlework possession to save in a fire, what would it be?
Could I save my studio? Otherwise, possibly one or two of my framed pieces – all other items like thread, fabric, needles could be replaced.
When developing your designs, which activity takes the most time?
The most time consuming is definitely researching images, then amending and drawing them in Corel Draw, to get an outline ready for stitching.
How much time do you spend stitching each day?
I try to do at least 3 hours stitching a day, sometimes more.
What is the best piece of advice about needlework you have been given and can share with our students?
There is no wrong way to do it, only guidelines. As long as your embroidery is pleasing to you, it will be successful.
What advice would you give to students to get the most out of their workshop experience?
Relax, work at your own pace and enjoy the time with like-minded people away from everyday life.
What is your inspiration for your Festival designs?
For the 2021 Festival, my inspiration is an antique botanical painting.
What materials and techniques are you using in this piece?
I am using linen fabric and DMC stranded cotton. These designs use mainly long and short stitch with some Split Stitch, Satin Stitch and French Knots.
What do you love about your Festival designs?
I love the antique period shades which have become discoloured and more interesting over time, and the dramatic contrast in shading.
Have you taught at Phillipa and Laura’s retreats before?
No, but I know they are super organised and stunning venues so I am sure I will love it!
Thank you Trish for your time and energy, we look forward to having you with us in our home town during the Lady Anne’s Needlework Festival 2021. Visit Trish’s page on our website to see all the details of the workshops she will be offering at the Festival.