Angels of Colour
The idea came from an invitation to make Christmas decorations to sell at a Christmas Fair at Wilderness Wood, a magical family-owned wood near where we live. They have a sustainable Christmas tree business, so I decided I wanted to make angels to adorn these lovely trees.
Researching for my design, I noticed that all of the angels I was seeing were white. I tried to find Christmas tree angels, or any angels for that matter, with brown skin. When I couldn’t find any I felt sad. So I started making them, because I want children of colour to have angels on their trees that look like them. Well, a sort of wobbly hand-stitched version anyway!
One pound from the sale of each angel will be donated to the wonderful charity Black2Nature, set up to increase in engagement of Visible Minority Ethnic (VME) people with nature and the environment. Ten percent of each sale also goes to Wilderness Wood.
I love the way the branches look like arms thrown up in the air, such a happy expression!
When a branch from a tree in our garden was blown down in a storm I got the idea for the angels’ bodies – sticks! Perfect for angels made for Wilderness Wood! Not many trees grow in this manner, branching out either side of the main branch like this. Perfect little bodies!
I have also made rag doll style angels, with bodies made from recycled fabrics and stuffed with natural and organic cotton – I had to pick out the stalks!
The angels are dressed entirely in recycled and repurposed fabrics. Mainly my daughter’s tutus (she is 9 and wouldn’t be seen dead in one now, sadly) and gorgeous wedding dress fabrics. When you really love something you magnetically attract it to you! You wouldn’t believe the beautiful fabric I am given – my bridal atelier brother in law gave me STUNNING offcuts of high-end wedding dress fabrics. My mum is a magpie for beautiful things and bestows on me cupboards full of craft supplies and fabrics.
Each angel takes about 5 hours to make, as I try out different dresses and headpieces/haloes.
I don’t stop making each one until I think she is totally fabulous! I often have Strictly Come Dancing on in the background for some joyful sparkly inspiration!
The angels have evolved in style as I made each one, and they continue to change. No two are the same, and I get so attached to them I had a lump in my throat handing them over for sale!
What makes me happy is imagining them on people’s Christmas trees or in their homes smiling down on them and making them smile. Actually they are not all smiling. Some are downright haughty, it would seem I’m not in control of the facial expressions I embroider! These ones must be hung nice and high in their rightful place looking down on everyone – they mean well!