Gardens, flora and fauna have long been a source of inspiration to stitchers. Floral themes run through out the history of textiles and embroidery. Many of the early embroidery designs were adapted from early herbals. Stitchers still delight in floral themes today.
In 2001 an exhibition that explored the relationship of women and natural studies was held in Department of Special Collections at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The site housing associated images is still online.
Themes include nature writing, scientific illustration, and women’s careers and training in the natural sciences. Sections that I think readers will find interesting are Elizabeth Blackwell, the daughter of an Aberdeen merchant, who eloped to London and soon found herself with a husband in prison for debt. Blackwell produced books on plants based on flowers and plants she viewed in Chelsea botanical gardens.
The other section I think readers will enjoy is the section on Illustrators as the botanical drawing is delightful.
The Illustrations of these books housed in the exhibit are well worth browsing as they form an online source for design inspiration that should not be missed by designers or anyone interested in the influences of print on textile design. The site houses larger images so you can take a really good look at the work.
So make a cuppa, settle back and enjoy!