Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Secret Garden

Do you remember falling in love with certain books when you were a child?  For me, there were many - Black Beauty, Anne of Green Gables,  Comanche, and just about all of the Little Golden Books series.  But, perhaps my most favorite book of all was The Secret Garden.  I first discovered it when I was in about the 4th grade or so.  I remember checking it out from our school library over and over again.  For me, it was a magical book.  I think it was one of the first books I read where I remember really feeling like I was there.   I could pick up that book and escape into a beautiful, magical garden.  I often pretended that I was Mary.  After all, I had thin, straggly, blonde hair and I often felt lonely and unloved.  I, too, found solace in nature.  Still do.  This book struck a deep chord in me as a young adolescent, and it still does today.  I read it again in the autumn of last year, and I knew that I wanted to create something to honor my nearly life long love of this wonderful story.  I began poking around on the internet and found this wonderful version of the story illustrated by Inga Moore.

As you can see, her illustrations are simply stunning.  So, the plan is to create a series of embroideries inspired by this beautiful version of one of my all time favorite books.  I know that I won't be able to "duplicate" the detail and richness of Inga Moore's illustrations, but they will serve as my guide and inspiration.  I have already begun the first one.

I decided to start with the hidden gate that leads to the secret garden.  It was always a very magical part of the story for me, and seemed a logical place to begin.  I did lots of research on garden gates, and settled on this design.

Overall, I'm satisfied with how it's looking so far.  I intend for this to be a very long term project.  I want to make a series of embroideries depicting different elements from the book that have the most personal meaning for me, and that I feel I can comfortably execute given my skill level.

I fully expect to be working on this series for a very long time.  I often find myself floundering around in between projects wondering what to do and where to go next.  This project will be sort of an anchor for me.  Something I can always go back to when I need something to stitch.  Unlike all my other projects, I will not be in any hurry to complete this one.  It will be an ongoing project sort of always running in the background.  I absolutely hate that lost feeling I get when a project is completed, and I have no idea what I'm going to do next.  Hopefully, with this project, I won't have that feeling for a long, long, long time!

Well, the sun is up now, and the woods are calling, so I'm off to strap on my hiking shoes and take a long walk.  With all the hours of stitching I have ahead of me, I need to get plenty of exercise to balance out all the hours of sitting!

Happy weekend everyone :)


Roma said...

Oh! Oh! Oh! I LOVE this idea! I will be watching your progress. Great start! My favorite book was The Boxcar Children.

Suztats said...

Fabulous! "The Secret Garden" has been a favourite of mine, too, along with "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe". I shall be watching this stitchery evolve. You have a very nice beginning.

Starr White said...

Thank you, Roma! I hope I can do it justice. Thanks for your visit and your comment :)

Starr White said...

Awww! Thanks, Suz! You know, I saw the movies, but I never read the CS Lewis books. Perhaps I should.

margaret said...

another Secret Garden fan here along with Alice in Wonderland. Usually they show the film over Xmas and I try to catch it such a lovely book, Your gate has worked very well, it is a great idea doing a series, and as you say there will be something to fall back on inbetween other projects that is if you can bare to leave this one alone.
Going to try and find the book on amazon now, feel I must have one like yours although I do have the one I had as a child it is not illustrated like yours.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Though I was a voracious reader, I never read The Secret Garden. I think this project based on the illustrations of the book is a marvelous idea. When I'm in between projects I have a tendency to pick up a crochet project.

I'm going to enjoy watching your project progress. What a great idea.

Jules said...

This is a wonderful idea and what a gorgeous book, a real classic favourite.I love those wonderful illustrations. I'm excited to see how this progresses, your gate looks great.

Valerianna said...

Beautiful! I loved and still love "The Secret Garden"... my mother read it to me - and my father! - on a cruise on our sailboat. We ALL loved it! And Roma reminded me of "The Boxcar Children" which I also loved, and another childhood fave was "The Rescuers". I need to re-read that one. The illustrations in this version are lovely. I've seen quite a few versions that I simply adore. This one is quite special, though. Your gate is GREAT!

Mary Ann said...

I loved, loved, loved that book when I was little. I can't tell you how many times I read it. I guess because I spent a very solitary childhood so I could relate to the story. I had never read the Narnia books but I was given the audio books...all of a gift last year. Very enjoyable to listen to when I sew.

I love what you are doing with your embroidery project. The little button for the door handle...lovely touch:)

Jeri Landers said...

That rendition of the Secret Garden is the absolute best! I collect "Secret Gardens" and gave this one a good review on Amazon. Your project could be a marvelous, it is such a lovely idea. And you are off to a great start with the "door to the garden".

Deb said...

Another Secret Garden fan here - mine is illustrated by Tasha Tudor ♥ ... the illustrations of Inga Moore are absolutely stunning - love the fox!
Your embroidery is gorgeous & such a great idea.