‘When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive- to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.’ Marcus Aurelius
‘The Preciousness of Life’ is a meditation on the beauty and serenity of nature married with a sense of nostalgia and family in a series of hand embroidered sculptural objects. Inspired by Lucy Martin’s garden at her family home, this personal project reflects the aspects of her life she holds most dear through the art of bespoke hand embroidery. This particular body of work comprises of a series of glass terrariums, within which sit a series of beautiful hand embroidered florals.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, Lucy moved back into her childhood home and found herself seeking solace and comfort in nature and spending time with her family. Growing up near the Peak District, Lucy has always been surrounded by beautiful scenery. Looking back, this time spent in lockdown is no longer a time of uncertainty and fear, but a time of happiness, filled with precious memories. Family is most important to Lucy. Her Grandad was a keen artist who painted and sketched beautiful canvases which now fill the walls of the home he shared with her Nana. Taking inspiration from his work, Lucy has incorporated his paintings, and elements of home life, to create a personal narrative through her work, also incorporating her own beliefs and values.
The initial stages of the project began with sketches and paintings of the flowers around Lucy’s family home and nearby gardens. These artistic representations of florals then went on to inspire the final overall aesthetic. The blooms selected for this piece were carefully curated to reflect the people most important within her life; sweet peas because she helped her Dad plant them during lockdown, bluebells such as those that line the woods opposite her Nana’s house, alstroemeria which are her Mum’s favourite flower etc.
Lucy’s pieces are designed to be treasured forever as heirlooms of the future providing longevity to both hand embroidery as an artisanal technique as well as the pieces themselves.
Whilst studying, Lucy undertook a full-time internship with Hand & Lock, becoming part of the Hand Embroidery team, working on the restoration of the King Edward VII banner which was a high-profile commission from the Royal Family. She has worked as a Freelance Embroiderer for Alexander McQueen, Ralph & Russo, Jasper Conran, amongst many others. Lucy also worked with the private couturier ‘Catherine Walker’, where she worked as part of a two-person team to produce the embellished panels for a piece from their Spring/Summer 2020 collection, ‘Cora’.
Within her Degree program, she has also worked as part of collaborations with artists such as Susan Aldworth, where she produced embroidery for the ‘Out of the Blue’ exhibition. Her most recent personal project was in collaboration with the team at the Royal School of Needlework and the University for the Creative Arts where she created an embroidery challenge accessible to all skill levels for people to produce during the lockdown caused by COVID-19. Her ‘NHS Embroidery Challenge’ has, so far, had over 250 responses.
Lucy’s top tip for aspiring hand embroiderers is ‘Be bold and brave. Have fun and enjoy every second of producing the work. Be as adventurous as possible and push yourself artistically. If anyone is considering coming to the RSN, stop considering and go for it. It has been the best three years of my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat!’