An artistically inclined mother and a keen interest in all things beautiful got Di off to an early start as an embroiderer. Her love for this discipline soon became her livelihood and starting an embroidery business was just another natural progression for this talented crafter. She opened her first shop in the Natal Midlands and when the family decided to uproot and move to Johannesburg, along went the business. After four years of running one of Johannesburg's most successful embroidery shops, the family's urge to settle in Cape Town became too strong to ignore. Di now lives in the Mother City where she runs two successful embroidery shops.
The end product of her latest interest, hand painting her own range of silk and organza ribbons for embroidery, is marketed to retail outlets worldwide.
What sets these artists' work apart is that they fearlessly combine techniques drawn from stumpwork, mixed media and conventional thread embroidery with specific ribbon embroidery stitches to create stunningly dimensional pieces. As you'd expect from an experienced author and tutor like Di, the basics are covered with great clarity. Collaborating here with Marina for the first time, together they combine media and techniques that are truly inspirational, with the authors just as likely to add shells and stones to a piece as ribbon or thread. Dyed silk rods become wild roses, while a humble candle is used to seal and form organza into realistically curved leaves and petals. Sumpwork is wonderfully 3d but labour intensive but, here a 3D strawberry is made not in needlelace but from a gathered circle of ribbon, stuffed with wooly fibre, with the achenes (indented speckles) suggested by a few straight stitches - simple but effective, as is so much in this highly desirable book. An added bonus is the authors' recipe for making your own anti-fray liquid glue for sealing and strengthening cut ribbon shapes - which is worth the book's cover price alone.* Stitch *
Oh my goodness. The words that come to mind! Lavish, Lovely, Luscious - Di van Niekerk and Marina Zherdeva's new silk ribbon embroidery book, Little Flowers in Silk & Organza Ribbon is all of the above! For silk ribbon embroidery enthusiasts, I'm pretty certain all of Di's books are a must for your bookshelves. But silk ribbon embroidery - and the techniques found in this book that I'm reviewing today - goes beyond just the SRE enthusiast. If you are a crazy quilter, if you love stumpwork and three-dimensional embroidery techniques, if you are a flower enthusiast, if you just like pretty things - this book will draw you in and teach you much! First off, like all of Di's books, this one is a beauty. It's one of those books you can leave out on your coffee table, that people who aren't remotely interested in embroidery will browse through and take delight in. The photos, the colors, the abundance - the book is mesmerizing! But the great thing is that Di & Marina combine a gloriously beautiful book with solid instruction. That's a win-win combination for me. I love to look at books, but even more so, I love to read them and learn from them. Even though the projects in this book look elaborate and advanced, I think the newbie to silk ribbon embroidery can definitely venture in, too. All the basics are covered, so if you're just starting out, you'll have the foundation information you need to approach the projects in the book. And the projects! They're all flowers - narcissus, poppies, chamomiles, a rose wreath, strawberry blossoms, a ring of daisies, double roses and blue violets, wild roses and pink blossoms! And there it is, my friends - another glorious book from Di van Niekerk!* needlenthread.com *
Being an absolute beginner to ribbon embroidery, I have struggled to find a book that explains and illustrates this attractive form of embroidery as accurately and in such an easy manner to follow as the "Little Flowers in Silk and Organza Ribbon". The quality of the diagrams are clear and very easy to follow along with the techniques which again are clearly explained each step along the way. I particularly liked the idea of using other materials to enhance the work and for me personally this is a book I will enjoy working with. (East Sussex Branch)* Embroiderer's Guild *