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Fine whitework embroidery

The image that inspired this work a stained glass window in Bethnal Green Gardens Library. It is now in a non-public area, but is a stunning example of 1920’s memorial art to the Great War.

Lockdown happened before beginning work on this piece. In those first frightening weeks as the death toll soared from Coronavirus, I wondered about how this momentous time would be memorialised, as our forebears created monuments like the window. My conclusion was we would most vividly recall the work of the NHS; but also the scientists who guided our every move, while battling to find a cure. This whitework is my tribute to them and a memorial of the Covid 19 pandemic.

There was gap of several months before completing the work. The stumpwork lilies were attached on Remembrance Day, and the net darning revealed and the work mounted when news of mass vaccination was to begin.

The net darning rosettes were quite tricky to achieve, as they are not a continuous pattern, but instead are individual features which must be started and stopped invisibly.

The coronavirus model is in essence a ball surrounded by protein spikes, therefore the net darning needed to have rounded items in it. I also added another pattern which shows an “infection curve” rising and falling.

The completed net darning was applied to the back of the fabric still stretched in its hoop. Basting stitches secured it before two rows of trailing and eyelets further anchored it in place.

I had intended to depict a ‘normal’ angel with a dove and flowers, but sitting at home in Lockdown contemplating what was going on, I felt compelled to convert the design to this. B

The angel was intended to be wearing a visor as well as a mask. I made several visors, but in the end it was so small and hard to see, I decided in the end not to attach it.

The Museum of London expressed an interest in adding Epidemi-Angel to their permanent collection alonside other items memorialising the Pandemic.

Epidemic angel Covid embroidery
embroidered Covid protein spike
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