A sampling of  award-winning
T A L L I A F E R R O original crewel designs.

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Crewel, as with other art forms, is infused with the creator's thoughts and emotions, from the time the idea first occurs and throughout the work bringing it to fruition.

These form the story behind a work, and needleartists are particularly given to relating these stories to each other while viewing the work and, in that tradition, the stories of these works are included here.
THE ROYAL PERSIAN BLOSSOM

Image Size:  12" x 13-5/6"

This was inspired by a photo in The Royal School of Needlework Embroidery Techniques of a single motif illustrating the skill of a particular needleartist. The skill with which the motif was worked was utterly breathtaking, but the color palette resonated even more strongly.

The resulting floral design in that palette is in the High Persian style with a succulent blossom growing from a sinuous stem with secondary leaves and bud. Drawing upon the vibrant vocabulary of Persian floral motifs common to ancient carpets, tiles, and porcelain, the design offers the needleartist an excellent opportunity to explore a variety of crewel techniques.

Worked on Crewel Work Company linen twill in20 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn and took approximately 70 hours to complete.


THE PERSIAN BLOSSOM BOUQUET

Image Size:  15" x 12-3/4"

I adapted an original wallpaper pattern to create an embroidery intended to upholster the back of a small loveseat, but was framed upon completion instead.

A dramatic example of Anglo-Persian style, it combines motifs at home in shimmering. jewel-toned carpets with a sinuous, elegant line that pays homage to the magical gardens  blossoming in the bare warp and woof  threads of the ancient rug weavers' looms.

Worked on Legacy Plantation Linen in 22 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn.
1st place, Original Crewel, Woodlawn Annual Needlework Exhibition, 2008
1st place, Original Crewel, Kenmore Needlework Exhibition, 2008
1st place, Original Crewel, Montpelier Needlework Exhibition, 2008
People's Choice Award, Kenmore Needlework Exhibition, 2008
LA ROSE PORCELAINE SPRAY

Image Size:  10-3/8" x 10-3/4"

This was inspired by an intricate woodcarving decorating an antique Chinese rosewood table, the monochrome carving on a cinnabar box, and the lyrical feel of fine 18th c. Anglo-Chinese porcelain.

One blossom is rendered in realistic detail, but the other is merely suggested in imitation of the minimmal hatching employed to imply depth and shadow in the woodcarving.

The design affords the needleartist a lovely opportunity to explore the dramatic possibilities of the crewel soft shading technique.

Worked on Legacy Plantation Linen in 8 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn and took approximately 34 hours to complete.
GLORIOUS MORNING GLORIES

Image Size:  11" x 13-3/4"

This came about as an urge to "fix" a rather turgid and heavy art nouveau woodcut in which there was hiding a much more graceful design just crying out to be released and transformed into a delicate floral that appeared to move lightly in the breeze.

Worked on Legacy Plantation Linen in 15 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn and took approximately 54 hours to complete.
Honorable Mention, Original Crewel, Woodlawn Annual Needlework Exhibition, 2008
Honorable Mention, Original Crewel Design, Montpelier Needlework Exhibition, 2008
A MUM FOR ETHELENE

Image Size:  8-7/8" x 7-1/4"

Designed to commemorate the courage of a bright, articulate woman whose first awareness of the onset of Altzheimer's was when she began to lose words begining with the letter C, of which chrysanthemum was the first.

The design demonstrates the remarkable illusion of light and shadow that can be achieved in crewel embroidery.

The chrysanthemum, with its clustered petals, is an excellent subject for approaching complicated florals.

Worked on Legacy Plantation Linen in 13 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn and took approximately 40 hours to complete.
SPRING PEONY BLOSSOM

Image Size:  5-1/2" x 5-1/4"

The single blossom was pulled from a larger original design and adapted for use as a project for a class teaching methods of achieving shadow and highlight 
with crewel. 

Borrowing upon Chinese silk embroidery, but retaining the graceful stitching style of crewel, the design demonstrates that wool embroidery can indeed achieve a level of shimmering drama, even in a small work

Worked on Legacy Plantation Linen in 14 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn and took approximately
22 hours to complete. 
2nd place, Original Crewel, Woodlawn Annual Needlework Exhibition, 2008
2nd place, Original Crewel, Kenmore Needlework Exhibition, 2008
2nd place, Original Crewel Adaptation
Woodlawn Annual Needlework Exhibition, 2009
THE POMEGRANATE TREE SAMPLER

Image Size:  7-3/4" x 10"

The first of two samplers designed to brush up on the crewel stitch vocabulary and regain manual dexterity after years of absence from the art, and later used as a class piece to introduce students to the crewel stitch vocabulary and to familiarize them with two enduring traditional crewel motifs:  the Tree of Life and the pomegranate, symbolic of health, good fortune, and fertility.

Worked on Legacy Plantation Linen in 21 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn.
THE AUTUMN OAK SAMPLER

Image Size:  7-1/2" x 12-1/2"

A simple but effective sampler designed by the artist to specifically hone her stitching skills after years of absence from the craft, and later used to introduce others to crewel in classes and demonstrations.

The sampler is in the traditional Jacobean style and celebrates the English Oak as a symbol of strength and renewal.

Worked on Legacy Plantation Linen in 15 shades of
Appleton Brothers crewel yarn.
VIRIDIS BLOSSOM

Image Size:  7-1/8" x 6-3/8"

A single blossom plucked from a much larger design done years ago that was stillborn until Iit found its proper expression in a small crewel piece. It captures the delicacy of the fragrant plants blooming in the shady dimness beneath the cypresses in the cool of the early spring evening.

Worked on Legacy Plantation Linen in 17 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn and took approximately 42 hours to complete.
THISTLEDOWN

Image Size:  6-5/8" x 8-1/4"

Designed as a reminder of a jewel-box of a cottage where the rain is soft and slow through the long-leaf pines, the white sand of the lanes is powder between one's naked toes, the orchids glow in the greenhouse windows at dusk, and the stillness is broken only the whippoorwill's mournful call.

Worked on Legacy Plantation Linen in 13 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn and took approximately
28 hours to complete.
Winner of the Frank Lloyd Wright Award for Outstanding Original Design, Woodlawn Annual Needlework Exhibition, 2009
1st place, Original Crewel, Woodlawn Annual Needlework Exhibition, 2009
Honorable Mention, Original Crewel, Montpelier Needlework Exhibition, 2009
Honorable Mention, Original Crewel, Montpelier Needlework Exhibition, 2009
THE OAKS OF WOODLAWN

Image Size:  14-1/2" x 14-1/2"

Designed to celebrate the surviving magnificent 200-year-old oaks of Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria, Virginia, which have always seemed like an enclave of wise elders, with their weathered beauty and the abiding peace and serenity provided in their shade.

Worked on Legacy Plantation Linen in 41 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn and took approximately
200 hours to complete.  
2nd place, Original Crewel, Woodlawn Annual Needlework Exhibition, 2009
1st place, Original Crewel, Montpelier Needlework Exhibition, 2009
BLUE WILLOW I

Image Size:  7-1/8" x 11-1/8"

Worked on Crewel Work Company linen twill in 5 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn and took approximately 38 hours to complete.  
BLUE WILLOW III

Image Size:  7-1/8" x 11-1/8"

Worked on Crewel Work Company linen twill in 5 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn and took approximately 45 hours to complete  
BLUE WILLOW II

Image Size:  12-1/2" x 10-1/2"

Worked on Crewel Work Company linen twill in
7 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn and took approximately 89 hours to complete.  
THE BLUE WILLOW SUITE
A suite of three related works comprising an interpretive study of  elements of  Wedgewood's iconic  "Blue Willow" porcelain pattern. The point of the exercise was to select an array of stitches that would capture the textures impilied in the original design. Lazy daisy worked very well for the willow leaves; buttonhole and blanket stitches added dimension to the cypress and birds' wings, tight French knots formed the hummocks from which the trees grow; chain stitches suggested the water surface, and blanket stitch and buttonhole simulated birds' feathers. The decorative base of the trees and the border of the bird piece suggests the traditional Chinese pattern used in around the edges and rims of the porcelain.

The three pieces of the Blue Willow Suite are worked on Crewel Work Company linen twill in between 5 and 7 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn.
2nd place, Original Crewel
Woodlawn Annual Needlework Exhibition, 2011
2nd place, Original Crewel, Woodlawn Annual Needlework Exhibition, 2011
PARADISO I

Image Size:  8-5/16" x 9-3/16"

Paradiso I is the first of a series of three Persian style blossoms and a pomegranate, for those who cannot have enough pomegranates, all worked in more contemporary palettes. The foundation drawings are full of movement, lending a lightness and modernity to a venerable motif. A study in heightened relief, the various motifs are padded and worked with stitches chosen to provide a diversity of textures.

Worked on Crewel Work Company linen twill in
8 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn and
took approximately 57 hours to complete.
THE DUSK SUNFLOWER

Image Size:  8-5/8" x 6-3/4"

The Dusk Sunflower is an attempt to capture the  top heavy, late summer weight of the magnificent Russian sunflower blossom with its grace and compexity.  Special attention was given to the play of light on the layers of petals. 

Worked on Legacy Plantation Linen in 17 shades of Appleton Brothers crewel yarn and took approximately 85 hours to complete..
2nd place, Original Crewel, Woodlawn Annual Needlework Exhibition, 2010
1st place, Original Crewel, Montpelier Needlework Exhibition, 2010
1st place, Original Crewel, Woodlawn Annual Needlework Exhibition, 2010
LA SERENISSIMA

Image Size:  14-3/8" x 11-7/16"

La Serenissima is the result of an exercise in exploiting the flexibility of crewel to suggest sweeping movement and memories of Venice inspired by an exquisite little oil painting of
three fishing boats making their way into harbor at sunset. 

The voluptuous blossom, padded at the edges for dramatic relief, utilizes soft-shading to produce the painterly movement of color along the petals, capturing the gilded pinks of the clouds, while the leaves hint of the twilight shadows to come and the darkening sea. The sinuous curves speak to the fluid Arabic line
that is Venice's legacy of the Ottoman Empire.

Worked on Crewel work company linen twill in 31 shades of Heathway crewel yarn and took approximately 159 hours to complete.
KASHAN

Image Size:  5-3/16" x 5-7/8"

Kashan was inspired by a small 11th century, hexagonal, blue on white ceramic tile seen many years ago in a dusty glass museum case in Granada. Chipped and cracked, the simple brush strokes had such a joy about them, and the asymmetrical take on the traditional Tree of Life design was exciting and fresh.

The sketch I made lodged in a sketchbook for years. I knew the palette immediately--blood reds and deep pinks of the poppies and wild tulips that bloom in the mountain fastnesses of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and the Hindu Kush. Finally, I settled on the size--small like the original--and everything clicked. I finally achieved a work that I felt would perhaps win a smile of recognition from the original artisan across the centuries.

Worked on Crewel Work Company linen twill in 15 hades of Cascade House Shaded crewel yarn and took approximately 62 hours to complete.
3rd Place, Original Crewel, Woodlawn Annual Needlework Exhibition, 2012