Winter Garden - Maija Brummer
The Craft Museum of Finland, Jyväskylä, FI
Maija Brummer - Sulle luvannut en ruusutarhaa (I Never Promised You A Rose Garden), Detail
Winter Garden is an exhibition of nature-themed embroideries that Maija Brummer (b. 1951) has created with the freehand embroidery technique. The garden in the exhibition features a selection of autumn and winter works but carries a whiff of summer too.
Nature has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Maija Brummer. Her subjects include trees, branches, leaves, flowers, and vines. The changing seasons add new insights and colours to them. The flowers in the embroideries are not mere “flowers”; instead, they enable a better understanding of nature’s delicate vulnerability. To survive, nature needs human help and appreciation.
In freehand embroidery, the sewing machine needle stays in one place while the cloth is moved under the needle to create a drawing-like trace. Maija Brummer embroiders her works on water-soluble support material. A completed embroidery is immersed in water which is when the support material dissolves away. This results in lace-like transparent textiles that may appear fragile but are actually quite strong as they have been sewn many times over.
Their materials include both new and used textiles coloured and painted by hand. Each flower and each leaf is different and unique because it is cut and sewn separately. The materials are mainly cotton cloth but may also be something else as far as subject matter is concerned, to enable a different “feel”. The sewing threads are made of cotton and polyester, but generous quantities of various decorative threads have also been used in the works.
“Almost nothing ends up in the trash. There are no snippets so small that one could still not make a rowanberry or a leaf of lingonberry out of them. The best bits are often found under the sewing machine on the floor”, says Brummer to describe the way she uses her materials.
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