Finalist in the

Sew&So National Craft Awards 2018

"Needlecrafter of the Year"

Exhibited at the RSN

"Faces & Figures in Stitch 2019-2020"

Royal School of Needlework

Certificate module in blackwork

After my traditional start in Jacobean Crewelwork, it's off to CrossFit and bang up to date for my Blackwork needlework project. This time, intricate patterns are put to service in reproducing a photograph.

I am a CrossFit L1 trainer at CrossFit London. Often I take photos during class, including special events. In 2016 I shot an Olympic Weightlifting seminar. The clients attended to improve their snatch and clean & jerk, and were of all abilities.

The photo I chose to reproduce as a Blackwork is of Alessandro Riente. His 20kg Olympic bar is loaded with 10 and 20kg plates, and is held in a back-of-the-neck position. The next photos showed he jerked the bar to a successful overhead catch.

I have been involved with CrossFit for 12 years, and it is an endless source of fascination to me. I enjoy guiding people through beginner sessions, and watching them improve and get stronger over time. To me, a person under load is beautiful!

I chose this image, as it celebrates and reflects my daily working life. There are plenty of different materials and textures to be portrayed: rubber bumper plates, steel bar, aluminium clips, cotton tee shirt and wrist wraps, as well as skin, hair and beard. There are muscles and tee shirt folds to portray, as well as the different hilights on the other objects.

Materials used are an evenweave white linen ground and black threads: coton a broder, stranded yarn, machine cotton and silk. Some of the metal elements are hilighted in ophir thread. The whole project including stitching and mounting took 150 hours, and is approximately A4 size.


The realistic effects are achieved by pattern, thread thickness, and something called 'scattering' where some elements are dropped out in lighter areas. Absolutely loved paying tribute to awesome lifters everywhere.

Check out the slideshow below to see it being created step by step.

Blackwork stitch weightlifter
The National Needlecraft Awards. Check out the close up of me and Andrew in the CrossFit London shirt!
'80kg Blackwork used as a cover for the Royal School of Needlework eNewsletter

'80 kilos'

Giving CrossFit the needle

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