A bird in the hand

How ‘A bird in the hand’ was made

To make this textile piece I first wanted to stitch the outline of a pair of cradling hands; I took a photo of my own hands.


I traced the outlines onto paper, then used a light box to trace them through onto the fabric. I stitched a simple outline using backstitch because I wanted the hands to fade into the background of the piece.

I chose to add a goldfinch because I had been watching them feeding in the garden and I love their colours and elegance. I have read that in the past people would keep caged goldfinches, and can understand why one would want to keep this natural beauty nearby. In this piece I like to think that the goldfinch is choosing to visit, but free to leave. I changed the scale of the bird, making it smaller than it would naturally be when compared to the hands, to make it appear precious and jewel-like.


And to emphasise my message that the goldfinch is a precious and beautiful creature, I nestled it within a cradle of bullion stitch roses.


I started with the rose flowers, then added backstitch stems and detached chain stitch leaves.


Here is the finished piece…