Fear of the unknown is one of the biggest hurdles for any artist – including textile artists.

Sometimes though, latching onto that fear and riding the wave of the unknown until elements begin to mesh, is really hard. You could be onto a really good thing, or not.   You just don’t know it yet.

But when your chosen elements begin to tell their own story, it can be invigorating and confidence-boosting.

‘Creativity takes courage,’ Henri Matisse.

So many times lately, I’ve begun a new area of hand embroidery on my current Sampler and had no idea where it was going to lead.

Would it work or wouldn’t it work?

Because until you actually set those stitches in your chosen thread upon your ground fabric and see the resulting relationship with everything else surrounding it, you’re really only guessing.

But you just have to ‘do it’.

Pablo Picasso once said, ‘I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else’.


And it has to be done with an aura of positivity by making that commitment to your idea.

Creativity comes above the fear of being wrong – remember this is not about perfection.

It may take a little time to see the true results, but I know how my energy and attitude change when I finally realize ‘it’s working’.

Yes, I’ve had to unpick work – not all my ideas are successful, but I can honestly say I don’t do it often.

I’ve found that by ploughing through, by adding what my instincts suggest, whether that be colour, line, shape, or texture, I am often successful – and it’s a good feeling, giving me the confidence boost that I can actually do this.



And one of the most useful tools in any artist’s arsenal is contrast – so, so easy to achieve, yet so often overlooked.

Monochromatic colour schemes really appeal to me, such as the green panel I’m currently working on – but if you don’t use a variety of contrasts of hue and value, then it won’t work.  It’s the same with line, shape, and texture.

So by committing to the fear, of the unknown and unseen, I’m producing work I’m really proud of – plus I’m exercising that very difficult part of the artist’s anatomy – my confidence.

My wish to you is the same – just do, and gain confidence in what you can achieve.

Remember that little red engine: ‘I think I can, I think I can….’