Stitching Botanical: creating textile artwork in the Garden

Stitching Botanical is on an exciting and evolving journey to create a permanent collection of textile works for the Garden.

Created and run by Marilyn Caruana since 2015, over 80 volunteers meeting twice a month have created special collections of stunning and evocative embroidery. These feature Welsh county flowers, rare Welsh plants, medicinal plants, South Africa in Bloom, a secret garden, meadow plants, pollinators,  wildlife, habitats and many beautiful fungi.

There is no structured teaching at the Stitching Botanical sessions, but guidance and materials are available to all our members. It is the buzz of ideas, energy and enthusiasm that is infectious, stimulating and productive. We are tapping into a long tradition of textile work in Wales, and believe this group may be the first of its kind to be working in a botanic garden on commissioned projects. Please tell us if you know of any others!

We use many different techniques including appliqué, fine hand embroidery, machine embroidery, fabric colouring and manipulation, wet and dry felting, and raised embroidery.

The volunteers use the excellent collections in the Garden’s library as technical and reference support, which provides them with black and white drawings, botanical art, stories about the plants, and details of their uses and habitats. Many members of the Garden have donated books, and the group’s fine textile creations are one direct result of this continuing support for the Garden’s library.

A collection of greeting cards featuring many of the stitched pieces are available in the shop at the Garden. Thanks to other keen Garden volunteers with skills in photography and social media, you can follow the group’s progress on the Stitching Botanical Facebook page, which shows all the work created, as well as photos of the monthly sessions. During 2019, all the images are also being uploaded onto the People’s Collection of Wales website. 

New members are always welcome and anyone wishing to join the group should contact volunteer coordinator Jane Down at jane.down@gardenofwales.org.uk or call 01558 667118 for details.