After leaving behind a managerial position in London to give English lessons in Italy, a lifelong textile artist has finally found time to hone her skills. In her ongoing series of embroidered works, Amber Payne hand-stitches colorful designs that are often inspired by the historic architectural elements she encounters in her travels, like the tessellation of ceramic tiles.
Payne tells Creators why she finds the process of stitching patterns and geometric shapes so fascinating: "I think I am drawn to it because you have these wonderful, defined tile shapes and amazingly, intense colors but working them in embroidery adds a new element of texture. Also, working 'hard' shapes in the relatively 'soft' medium of embroidery thread creates a good technical challenge for me which has produced interesting results," says Payne.
Although Payne has been doing needlework since her parents bought her a cross stitch kit when she was just four years old, she says that it wasn't until she went on sabbatical to Italy that she began to take the creation of her own embroidery designs seriously. "I had so many creative ideas and the sabbatical allowed me time to have a go with all of them. Once I started the creative process I found new ideas just kept coming," Payne explains.
Payne and her husband had originally planned to spend one year living in Northern Italy while she was on sabbatical. But when the year was over, Payne contacted her employer in London to tell them that she wouldn't be coming back to work. Instead, Payne and her husband went to Sicily, where her needlework continues to flourish. "My work has changed so much. I have become more confident in what I do. I design and stitch everyday which means I have honed my craft. The light here in Sicily and the intensity of the colors you see in nature means that I have become a lot more bold with my use of colour," says Payne.
With over 21,000 followers on Instagram, Payne says she's pleased with the attention her work is getting and she's looking for ways to share the pleasure she gets from doing needlework by helping others to discover the skill. "I still get that happy feeling when I'm stitching," says Payne.
Amber Payne plans to focus on creating more embroidered works based on tessellated patterns over the next year. Keep an eye on her progress on Instagram.