Based in the Welsh countryside, Dee finds endless inspiration in the ever-changing beauty of Britain's countryside and gardens, and whether she’s designing stationery and kitchenware for Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, or creating a new knitwear collection, her designs always begin life in her sketchbooks. Working in the traditions of the Arts and Crafts movement, she uses a wide variety of materials – from thread to paints, paper and clay – to create designs for products which add joy and colour to everyday life. Dee has always been equally happy with paintbrushes or an embroidery needle in hand, and she thinks of embroidery as being like 'painting' in thread, with each stitch on the cloth acting like a brushstroke of colour. She has even added some embroidery to her watercolours to create an eye-catching detail and an unexpected sense of texture.
Dee fell in love with Beyond Measure, which offers beautiful and unique collections for makers, having been given some exquisite Japanese embroidery needles and glass-headed pins for her birthday. A chance meeting with Beyond Measure's founder, Grace Whowell, at The Knitting & Stitching Show shortly afterwards was all it took to confirm that Dee and Grace share a creative vision and a passion for making.
When Dee began to develop her idea for gorgeous Watercolour Sampler Cloths based on her original botanical artworks, she knew that Grace would be the perfect person to collaborate with. As Dee explains, 'Beyond Measure's carefully sourced products appeal to makers of all levels of experience. I wanted to design Watercolour Sampler Cloths that would open up a world of creativity, whether you're new to embroidery or it's something you've been passionate about for years, so working with Grace to create these unique cloths seemed like the ideal opportunity for a really special collaboration.'
Grace adds, 'I'm delighted to be working with Dee. She has always been so supportive of my business, and it's very exciting to be collaborating at last. Dee's world is so wonderfully creative and colourful, and I've loved combining different embroidery stitches with Dee's delicate watercolour designs.’
The cloths have been designed so that you can open up a world of colour and creativity by embroidering them as much or as little as you like, and whether you're a complete novice or a skilled embroiderer. The cloths – which are available in six designs including Myrtle, Seed Head, Mimosa and Achillea (with more designs to follow later in the year) – are even beautiful enough to display just as they are. Whether you decide to highlight a selection of petals and stems to create an eye-catching sense of texture, or you embroider an entire Watercolour Sampler Cloth (perhaps even adding some details of your own), the result will be a unique expression of your creativity.
Dee Hardwicke's Watercolour Sampler Cloths will launch exclusively with Beyond Measure on 2nd September and will cost £9.50 each.
All Images ©Dee Hardwicke.