Exquisite symmetry: the intricate heirloom stitchwork of Teribear

Talented Auckland stitcher Terrie Beardsworth of Teribear brings together the skills taught to her by her Danish great grandmother with a lifelong love of natural fibres, to create exquisite cross stitched journal covers and accessories with a Scandinavian flavour that delight the eye and the hand.

teribear books

teribear
teribear

What do you make?
I design, stitch and then sew cross stitched journal covers and zippered bags.

How did you get into your craft?
Growing up on an isolated dairy farm north of Auckland, crafting was a way of life. From a very young age I learnt to sew, knit, crochet, embroider, spin, weave, grow, build, paint, mend, repair, repurpose, reuse, treasure, share and respect – we all did; that was the way things happened in those days in rural New Zealand. Craft was slow, practical and designed to be handed on. It was 100% New Zealand made from natural resources.

Craft was slow, practical and designed to be handed on. It was 100% New Zealand made from natural resources.

As I look back at my first school photo all the five year olds, boys and girls alike, in the new entrant class at Kaukapakapa Primary school are wearing intricately knitted wool jumpers and cardigans with home sewn shorts or dresses. There were no Red Sheds or Spotlights. Making was interwoven into our school days – art, music, cooking, building, inventing, problem-solving, creating and craft. Playtimes were spent building huts out of anything we could get our hands on – that is when we weren’t avoiding dive-bombing magpies while playing bullrush, or climbing the huge old trees growing on the school grounds.

teribear
teribear

At home there was no TV, iPad or electronic devices. When we weren’t out on the farm helping, playing, tending to pets, we were busy learning and experimenting with a new craft.

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
My amazingly talented Danish great grandmother was my embroidery teacher from a very young age. She was strict and formal; the back of the work had to be a good as the front. Before I could start stitching there were edges to bind, and centres to mark which always seemed to take SO long when all I want to do was start stitching. But through her patience and guidance, I learnt to make craft worthy of giving and treasuring.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I believe in natural products. I love the feel of silk, wool and cottons threads, and enjoy handling the natural linen. Colour excites me. I can get highly distracted if a new colour catches my eye and am known for having several projects on the go at once. I have just ordered some incredibly soft embroidery wools from Jacob at Modern Folk Embroidery in England, and am loving stitching the blues into the natural linens.

The pattern designing process is slow. I am inspired by Scandinavian designs – I love symmetrical patterns and have fun seeing scribbles on graph paper morph into the finished product. The stitching is done while supervising my ASD son’s school through Te Kura. I have to be calm and quiet while he is working on school, but yet still able to put it down when he needs help or assistance.

teribear scandi blues blog

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Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing your embroidered designs and notebooks
My designs start out life on a page of a maths book – a pencil cross in a square marks a stitch. It’s my form of organized doodling. Symmetrical designs are my favorite with a mirror line down the middle. I always feel great excitement the first time a design makes it to a complete journal cover.

Who inspires you?
My great grandmother and my great Aunty Norma; two amazing people who crafted all their lives. They always made me feel great worth in all I could do. They believed in me and encouraged me to believe in myself.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
My philosophy is simple clean designs, natural raw materials, practical products, and handmade to a high quality ready to be used and treasured.

Describe your workspace:
My workspace is anywhere. My cross stitch fits neatly into a small box which fits in my handbag and travels everywhere Matthew and I go – so while he has one of his many music lessons, I can relax and stitch to the fabulous music.

teribear6

teribear
teribear

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“I am honestly overwhelmed with the divinely special, beautifully handstitched journal cover I received. I have spent some time just sitting and admiring it, running my hand over this perfectly stitched needlework. I honestly love it and am so thrilled with it.” – Alison, Auckland.

What are you currently listening to?
Whatever piece of music Matthew is working on at the moment. He wrote a song Can’t Stop Thinking About You for NCEA Level 2 Music and entered the song into the Play it Strange song writing competition. He was placed in the top 40, so Matthew, Christopher (vocalist) and I spent the other day in Andrew Buckton’s recording studio recording the song. It sounds SO amazing and I just can’t get enough of it. Look out for it on the Play it Strange website – big thanks to Mike Chunn at Play it Strange for continuing to encourage our youth to write and record amazing music.

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
I have a much treasured copy of my favorite childhood book Birds by Brian Wildsmith; the detail and the depth of colour he uses in his paintings still fascinate me. Look close into his work and see the humour – the stare of the owls, the party of jays and watch of nightingales. I often turn to this beautiful book for colour combination inspiration.

teribear

What are you reading now?
Sewing Happiness: A Year of Simple Projects for Living Well by Sanae Ishida. When Ishida was diagnosed with a chronic illness and lost her corporate job, she thought her life was over. But these challenges ended up being the best thing that ever happened to her because they forced her to take stock of her life and focus on the important things, and enabled her to rediscover sewing – her true passion. Inspired to succeed at just one thing, Ishida vowed to sew all of her daughter’s clothes (and most of her own) for one year. A great read for a crafter!

Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
Matthew, my ASD son, is my hero. Every day he has a positive and happy attitude in an unaccepting world. I am spoilt to have him and his music in my life. Every day he makes me smile and feel joy even when life is incredibly tough for us both.

Tell us about your pets:
My pets can be found protecting our borders. I have “puppy walked” five beagles for the Ministry of Primary Industries. I get great satisfaction knowing I have done my bit toward protecting our diverse and unique environment.

teribear
teribear
teribear
teribear

If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
I would be the superhero who would put a stop to all conflict, all poverty and all hunger. I don’t know if this superhero has a name or has yet been created, but I would be her.

What’s in store for 2017?
Attending a market or two, and finding new colours to excite and inspire me!

Terrie has very kindly offered a lovely prize for one lucky Felt reader of one of her exquisite red Bouquet of Flowers journals (see below). These beautiful re-usable embroidered slip covers are a celebration of cross stitch and natural linen. They’re natural goodness inside and out! Each cover has a large cross stitch emblem on the front, with a smaller design cross stitched on the back, and comes complete with an A6 spiral bound, blank visual journal.

To be in to win this amazing handcrafted prize, simply leave a comment telling us what appeals to you about Terrie’s story and her beautiful Teribear embroidered creations. The draw will be made on Friday 2 December and is open to New Zealand residents only.

 

Shop now for Christmas at Teribear »

 

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9 Responses to “Exquisite symmetry: the intricate heirloom stitchwork of Teribear”

  1. Jillian Walst says:

    I love this embroidery, it looks amazing. And I love the story of growing up learning to do it well….even the preliminary tasks.

  2. Cecilia says:

    This is so beautiful! Very inspiring, Terrie! Congratulations! :)

  3. Prue Manson says:

    I love the scandinavan like designs. The clean look of the fabric which makes the stitches pop.. Beautiful

  4. Angela H says:

    Terri your creations are beautiful. Now knowing your story I cannot imagine how hard your life is but you have found the joy of craft and music.. what a great combination. Keep on stitching…..

  5. Lou says:

    Your work is absolutely beautiful, I would love to see/feel it up close! I love your description of a childhood spent outdoors or working on new crafts, and the fact that stitching is a skill that has been passed down through your family and continues to live on today. Lovely work.

  6. gorgeous all round, just listened to Matthew’s song. Fabulous.

  7. Susan says:

    Terri your story tells of great peace and joy in your life. Thank you for sharing and for bringing your amazing talent to the world, so that we may also be part of that peace and joy. I too loved Brian Wildsmith’s use of colour and the humour in his art. You have inspired me to stitch and create every day.

  8. Jo says:

    Hi Terri,

    Your work is exquisite, your story inspiring and your attitude to life, admirable. I wish you and your beautiful son every success.
    I have been keeping you in mind for a special family birthday and I am now convinced that one of your custom journals will be the perfect choice.

    Keep crafting & keep growing.

  9. Jacob says:

    What a wonderful read, and thank you for mentioning my embroidery threads! It’s so lovely to see the beautiful creations you make – your work is truly beautiful! Keep it up!

    - Jacob

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