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Embroidered Wilson Tennis Racquet Art

Bee Create January 27, 2018

A few years ago I fell in love with this art piece by Danielle Clough of a King Protea (the South African national flower) embroidered onto a tennis racquet. This was after I fell in love with embroidery as a medium.

When I was in my first year of college, I did a creative project about the Bo Kaap, South Africa’s Cape Malay district, as most tourists know, the colourful houses, painted in kaleidoscopic bright colours for the preparation of Eid. And because they paint them so often, there is often drops of paint strung from the bottom of each house on to the pavement. I photographed an iconic looking elderly muslim lady with a beautiful floral headscarf in the district, printed it out in large format in black and white, and began embroidering her head scarf with colourful thread into the paper. My lecturer told me I could never finish it on time, seeing as always, it was a last minute idea. But through blistered fingers and determination I thread and thread and I got it in on time and exceptionally done.

It won me an award, and in my first year of college, lots of bidders. But I have held onto it and will be framing it this year for our picture ledge that’s coming up in our living room soon.

This is when I first fell in love with embroidery as a medium, and later into my third year of college I decided to do a typographical embroidery project, also focused on South African history, and this was nominated for 2 of the biggest design awards in South Africa too.

It has been a few years now, and with my love for the medium, and the beautiful designs by Danielle Clough still in my mind, I decided to try and mimic her King Protea on an old tennis racquet, and damn it’s difficult. I have lost determination because it isn’t looking anything like I want it too, it’s difficult working with the strings of the racquet, and thinking about it now, it might have been easier to have had a smaller mesh or material at the back instead of only using the strings as a base. But I will pick this up again soon and have it up in my living room with the Cape Malay lady!

Here is my work in progress. The thread bought by my mum from a second hand street market in Cape Town, and the racquet bought from my local charity store for £1. With a little girl’s name written on the back. So authentic.