Inside Out, Back to Front

Sara Joy Rickard examines her process for creating one of her artworks.

After a long career in art education Sara moved to The Forest of Dean where she now creates her own textiles.

Here, she talks about the creation of her piece Inside Out and Back to Front.

Inside Out and Back to Front by Sara Joy Rickard
107cm x 48cm unframed

This piece is made from a vintage cushion cover brought from a local charity shop.  I opened up the cushion by undoing the side seams and was surprised to find a deep envelop style flap so the entire fabric was far more than twice the size of the original cover.

The lower section of the work shows the inside/reverse of the cushion’s stitching. I decided to reproduce the same stitches for the flowers, using the same colour palette but with my stitching being on the ‘right’ side.  Hence, the ‘old’ (back of the stitches) are alongside the ‘new’ stitches. The original flowers were stitched in Roman Stitch with an outline of Stem Stitch in a darker tone. The size and shape I carefully replicated in my own stitching.

Detail of Lower section showing old and new stitching

To extend the design I continued the same stitching into the upper section, which had been the plain back of the original cushion and on to the flap area. On the left side of the design I stitched a variety of flowers grouped in various stitches but keeping to the colours and threads used by the original maker. These stitches include chain, feather, button hole, stem, seeding, French and bullion knots.

The large rabbit motif is taken from a medieval design and worked in running stitch, like a Kantha, outlined in stem stitch.  The fact that he is looking backwards hints at the title, as is the fact that the cushion that provided the fabric was turned inside out to show the back which is now the front!

Detail of Upper Section with Rabbit Motif

As a friend commented, ‘it is a genuine piece of Up-cycling’.

All work and photographs copyright Sara Rickard 2020.

Visit Sara’s website to see more of her textiles: