Local Talent

Hello Everyone

Here in South Africa we have a wealth of embroidery talent – most of the recipients are a bit shy in coming forward so it tends to get hidden from the world.  Today I am featuring some of the work of Gay Booysen from Kynsna, which is on the beautiful Garden Route in South Africa.  You can read more about Kynsna here .

Gay was kind enough to send us some pictures of her canvas work projects that she has been doing recently and also the instructions for making up the spectacle case which can be found here.Instructions Canvas Spec Case.

And the written instructions which can be found INSTRUCTIONS FOR SPECTACLE CASE










Gay is a lovely, gentle lady, who was a bit shy about doing this interview.  I have had the pleasure of getting to know via email as she has purchased and completed several of my kits and participated in the correspondence class.  I was interested to find out more about the woman behind this beautiful embroidery.  Here is the interview – if you would like to contact her the email address is:

Gay Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I have been married for nearly 42 years.  My husband, Louis, and I have 2 daughters and a son.  We also have 6 grandchildren – 4 boys and 2 girls.

Louis and I retired to Knysna  in 2008, and our grandchildren are enriching our lives enormously.

I am a passionate gardener, and I also love to work with my hands, whether it is embroidery, painting, beading or doing mosaics.  I am always busy with something, and am very much a homebody!

When did you start embroidery and what inspired you.

My mother was my inspiration and role model.  From her I learnt the love of needlework and gardening.  However, I only really started embroidering seriously in 1992.  I happened to accompany a friend to the 1992 National Quilt Festival, and I joined an embroidery workshop of Lesley Turpin-Delport.  From then on I was hooked and became very passionate about embroidery.

My inspiration comes from my garden, nature, pictures in books and magazines, especially embroidery magazines).   I have a big collection of embroidery books and am always adding to it!  It is a bit addictive! I also belong to an Embroidery Guild and am always inspired by other members’ work.  It is great to interact and share ideas and the love of embroidery.

I believe you are/were a teacher?  How long have you been teaching and what style of embroidery do you teach.

I taught embroidery for about 9 years whilst we were living in Port Elizabeth.  As an embroidery teacher, I mainly taught creative embroidery and my students were free to choose their own projects.  My favourite forms of embroidery are crewel work (Jacobean embroidery being a special favourite of mine), canvas work, stumpwork, crazy patch embroidery, beading and ribbon embroidery.  I am now enjoying needlepainting.

I no longer teach embroidery and instead am trying to nurture my creative spirit.  I love working with metallic threads and space-dyed threads and use them to enhance my embroidery.  I also love embroidering insects (butterflies, bees, dragonflies etc) and almost always use them in my work.

I feel very blessed and privileged that I have been able practice this gentle form of art.  It is very therapeutic and rewarding.

You can see some of Gay’s more recent canvas projects below.  Hope you have a wonderful week and blissful stitching.  Trish





8 thoughts on “Local Talent”

  1. Dear Gay passed away yesterday. I will miss her so much. Amazing talent. Stitch away with Louis, Gay. Rest in peace together. B

    1. Dear Berry I am so sorry to hear that, it was very sudden. She will be remembered by the Needlework community with great fondness. Trish

  2. Thanks Trish, for featuring Gay’s beautiful work. I wondered by myself, where are all the creative South African’s gone. Australia, UK and others, are always showing their creativity for the world to see. Thank you!!!!!

  3. Hi Trish. Thanks for featuring Gay’s beautiful work. She is such a talented embroiderer. She was a member of the Port Elizabeth Embroiderers’ Guild until she relocated to Knysna. Her ex-students here in PE still speak fondly of her. Regards, Tania Grobler

    1. Thank you Tania. So grateful to have known her and have the opportunity to feature some of her work. She will be missed, but remembered. Trish

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