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Inspiration Board : Our New Friend, Lorna Ellis

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The book launch party held in our offices last week was pretty cool for us because we got to meet so many of our readers in person and hear all about thier own interests and projects. As described in earlier posts, I spent quite a while demonstrating a fabric stenciling technique, which gave me time to chat with attendees.

At the very end of the night, one partygoer, Lorna Ellis, showed me some examples of her own embrioderies that she'd brought with her. She was a bit shy about doing so but we were so glad she did! There was a real commotion as we all gathered around to admire them. She was kind enough to lend them to us to share here (see images below), and answer a few questions for us about her work. Thank you Lorna for joining us last week and or allowing us to share your inspiring work!

Did you grow up sewing and crafting?

Sewing was part of most little girls' upbringing where I grew up, and a cousin of mine was a professional seamstress. I grew up in a small fishing and resort district in the former British isle of Jamaica. We started out as little girls in elementary school making kitchen towels and half-aprons. After elementary school, I didn't do anything with embroidery until 2004, when I began to include embroidered blocks in my quilting.

We love the colors and materials you used, where do you draw inspiration from?

Most of my inspiration is drawn from nature: flowers, tropical foliage, and water.

Your embroideries each seem to be the result of many hours of work. You must enjoy the process! Tell us a little about that.

I enjoy doing the stem stitch, the first stitch that I learned, because it's simple yet appears elegant when done in tone-on-tone or in high contrast. Many people who do embroidery use a hoop, but what I enjoy most of all is holding the fabric in my hands.

Are there any particular artists or designers whose work you admire?

I have an extensive collection of art books and photographs. Kaffe Fassett, a quilter, and the legendary Georgia O'Keefe are two of my favorite artists.

Do you have any suggestions for a reader who is beginning to explore hand embroidery?

To get started embroidering, start with straight lines and small shapes using the stem stitch on cotton with cotton embroidery floss.

Do you make things for yourself, or do you sell them through any other outlets, like Etsy, etc.?

I embroider panels for bags and throw pillows, and I am a regular vendor of my other non-embroidery crafts at Greenflea Market in New York City, and my etsy page can be found at

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here we all are chatting. I so wish we had a bteer picture! Thanks to Hannah we do have this one!

1 here we all are chatting. I so wish we had a bteer picture! Thanks to Hannah we do have this one!

Lorna draws each design. I love how dense they are

2 Lorna draws each design. I love how dense they are

such nice botanical details and interesting patterning

3 such nice botanical details and interesting patterning

this photo isn't great but these colros are beautiful!

4 this photo isn't great but these colros are beautiful!

another detail of the same pattern

5 another detail of the same pattern

a simpler design

6 a simpler design


Comments (12)

  • I love sewing things for my little 1-year-old. Great making him costumes and things for his room. Thanks.

  • The are flowers are beautiful, as is the embroidery. Love the tropical, lush feel - perfect for summer. Great inspiration for my pool house project. Thanks.

  • Lorna Ellis is naturally talented!

  • Hi Lorna,
    it is beautyful and miracly ceativ. I send you best wishes for all the time and see you soon;-)
    God bless you all the time!

  • Hi Lorna,

    Congratulations! I still use the bag you gave me last time you were in Switzerland and I have received so many 'oohs' and 'aahs' from admiring people.
    Keep up the good work

    Cuz Lorraine

  • Great work Lorna! Congrats!
    Can't wait to see more of your amazing work.

    Well done.


  • Hi Lorna,

    I especially love that "dense" second one! Cristina introduced me to your work! It's beautiful =). Keep it up!


  • That's my auntyyy!!!!! Absolutely brilliant..she gave me one of her personally made scarves,,and when i wore it to school everybody was amazed by how such work was possible!!!
    i love you <3

  • well done Lorna! It's great that your hard work is appreciated..It certainly looks very time consuming and the end result are really lovely!!

    Love Charmaine

  • Thanks for all the great comments! It's very encouraging!

  • These are great designs! I am imagining them on clothes or as wall-hangings. I'm sure there are many possibilities. I'd love to see more of your work!

  • OMG outstanding!
    Lorna, I am so impressed by your awesome work!!
    Not surprised,but just wonderful to see your exquisite work finally on display. My ole friend, LOVE IT!
    Love you lots

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