Embellished - Tara Kennedy

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London View Inspiration Details

Artist Statement

Tara Kennedy

I have always admired the work of Alphonse Mucha and after visiting the Mucha Museum in Prague I felt even more enthused.
This particular piece is a colour lithograph found in the Prints and Drawings Study Room. It shows the head of a woman in profile against an ornate background of Autumnal leaves. In pure Byzantine style she wears highly elaborate jewellery in her hair which tumbles down and beyond the circular frame.
The whole piece is full of circular shapes many of which are found in the jewellery, the curls of her hair and also the frame itself. I was particularly drawn to all these decorative circles and designed a piece using them as inspiration. I wanted to express the elaborate patterns and also the Autumnal feel with the use of greens and browns using wool threads and felt. I made some long felted strands and bound some wire with wool and thread to make long coils and spirals to represent the curled hair. I stitched them on to some water soluble fabric along with lots of fabric and felt circles. I hand and machine stitched more spirals keeping them all roughly inside a circular shape but with some spilling out as in the original piece. I then embellished with felt and wrapped thread balls and knots.
Many of the ideas and techniques I used are ones I have been experimenting with on my Creative Arts degree with the OCA. I like to twist, wrap and stitch wool threads to create textures and then use these ideas to create interesting shapes depending what the original inspiration is. Most of my work is very 3 dimensional with layers of different textures using machine and hand embroidery but there is usually an important or significant story or expression behind every piece.

Embellished - Tara Kennedy

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Inspiration details:


Decorative medallion

France (issued)


Mucha, Alphonse, born 1860 - died 1939 (artist)

Colour lithograph

V&A collection reference number(s):

2015 Exhibition Guide

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