with Lucy Simpson
Crystal Tumblers and Decanters Glint in the Sun in Photorealistic Embroideries by Lucy Simpson
Reflecting her interest in drawing and photorealism, Lucy Simpson of Peacocks and Pinecones embroiders the glinting edges of glass and metallic objects in painstaking detail. Each piece is composed by directly observing decorative items like crystal tumblers and decanters, with some of the larger compositions taking upwards of 200 hours to complete. “It’s a slow process, and as a person who isn’t naturally patient, it’s a real endurance test for me,” she says. “I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I finish a piece.”
Simpson’s interest in needlework goes back to childhood and spending time with her grandmother, from whom she learned some basic skills at an early age. Fast forward to around five years ago when the artist had just given birth to her third child, and she took up cross-stitching from patterns as a way to relax. “I had been diagnosed with postnatal depression and anxiety, and my sister bought me my first kit to try and take my mind off things,” she says. “I loved how I had to completely focus on what I was doing, which left no room for intrusive thoughts. After a while, I decided I wanted to stitch my own designs and came across an embroidery style called thread painting and decided to have a go myself.”
First, Simpson began experimenting with rendering metallic objects, enjoying how single strands in a specific color could evoke a realistic depiction of light glinting off of an edge or seam. She spent time honing her craft on subjects like birds and animals because the stitches lent themselves naturally to the lines of fur and feather, but during the pandemic when she was spending extra time at home, she began to yearn for something more difficult.
“I think the biggest challenge using thread to depict glass is stitching the illusion of transparency,” she says. “I love the intricacies of cut glass and the way it distorts the liquid and makes light bounce around.” Typically working on a neutral background, Simpson sometimes incorporates patterns like gingham or polka dots, and she is constantly experimenting with new ways of realistically translating light and color, one stitch at a time.
Simpson occasionally takes commissions, and you can follow Peacocks and Pinecones on Instagram for updates.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.