Tell us a little about yourself and what drew you to focus on hand embroidery?
My journey in embroidery started 40 years ago in the heart of the rain forest of Peru and it has been an incredible journey to reach this stage were I’m available to deeply understand the art of hand embroidery and the art of using it to express and inspire others by stitching, embroidering for professional use, fun, therapy, healing or just experimenting. I have been in the professional embroidery world for 10 years now and have worked with so many people and companies through commissions here in London which was a great springboard for pushing and extending the traditional professional training I had received for three years at the Royal School of Needlework.
As well I have been teaching all kinds of embroidery workshops, for individuals groups her in UK and abroad, and still do this whenever I can. Stitching two pieces of cloth or stitching a single button really stops the busy world around us and really can connect us with our ancestors who at some point of their lives also stitched the same things without thinking that needles, threads and cloth will be with us forever, generation by generation. Technology will move fast but we always will depend on the needle and threads, these items never will die as we do. This is what draws me in to the world of hand embroidery. When I’m working with needle and threads, my mind is transported to another place, a place that can be beautiful, peaceful, intense and challenging and my love for needlework and embroidery has helped me to produce magnificent pieces of embroidery, many of them were recognised with Awards
You are a master Peruvian Embroiderer and also adept in English embroidery. How do the techniques compare?
Needle and thread is the common connection between English and Peruvian embroidery, I love both of them. In Europe we work with the finest threads, cloth and tools; in Peru we work with what we have. Peruvians love very bright colours, in England we like more subtle colours. These choices are affected by our culture, history, weather, and so many other factors, even our language. As we are in Great Britain, Peruvians are very proud of our ancient cultures. The rich textile heritage that the ancient peoples of Peru have bequeathed to us gives us so much to learn and enjoy, not just in embroidery but for all art forms. Those attributes are an invaluable contribution that Peru has to offer, not only for their own people but for everyone who is interested in textiles and art. I consider myself so fortunate to belong to both places.
These days I am a British and Peruvian citizen. Always I’m delighted when people in Peru ask me teach them English embroidery techniques, and when I’m in UK I am very happy teaching Peruvain embroidery. It is such a valuable asset to have these two cultures at once.
Bella’s next class at Fabrications is an “Introduction to Jacobean hand embroidery” on Saturday 7th March, 10:30am – 5:30pm .
Jacobean embroidery is a traditional English embroidery. It has been enjoyed and practised for many centuries in UK and beyond. The charm of its design with its famous tree of life, hillocks, flora and fauna style, colours and quality of the materials and its strength and durability for interior decoration (such as cushions, fire screens, furniture, bed covers and curtains) have assured its popularity to the present day. During the class you will re create Bella’s “Tree of Life” re interpretation and learn a number of decorative hand embroidery stitches including – Split stitch, plain/slanted and padded satin stitch, basic long and short stitch, chain, stem, herringbone, laid work, French knots, seeding, cross stitch and many more if students so wish.
Bella also runs her monthly “London Embroidery Club” at Fabrications. The Club was founded in August 2013 by Bella with the aim of sharing Bella’s specialist embroidery expertise with all who would like to learn and advance the art of hand embroidery in depth, from scratch beginners to mastery of a particular discipline carefully planned over whatever time you have available. Next club date is Friday 20th March, 10am – 3pm
For more information about Bella and her incredible embroidery work, visit her website.