Chorus of Angels

Chorus Of Angels

Chorus Of Angels

My mother and I have been planning a backdrop for some crib figures I inherited some years ago from a great aunt.

We started off by thinking about a stylised landscape (I might still do that one of these days), and then we thought about some sort of embroidered “stable” (likewise!), but none of the ideas really came together.

The crib figures are simple, and carved in wood, and we think they were bought in Germany after the war. We think that simplicity might be best set off by something really gorgeous and colourful, so then my mother designed a chorus of angels inspired by the “May Queen” design by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh. She substantially simplified the basic design, added wings and then created two ranks of singing angels.

She’s also created a wonderful top panel of graduated blues and superimposed the text “Gloria in excelsis Deo” over the top. At the moment we are thinking about creating an ombré dyed section for the graduated panel, and couching gold and silver threads to make the framework. Then maybe using golden gauze for the lower panel, using a second layer for the capes.

As for the wings – well, detached buttonhole stitch, perhaps? Maybe in Gilt Sylke Twist, if I can get the right colours. I’m torn between a rainbow of colours, as my mother has painted them, or some other selection. Really, it will depend on what takes my eye when I get to that stage!

We want to work it on silk, and I want to be a bit clearer about what I’m doing before I get started. So it won’t be done in time for this Christmas.


  1. Janice says:

    The design is beautiful. I saw the reference to Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh immediately. I hope to see the finished item in time for Christmas 2016!

  2. Karen in Bath says:

    Do keep us informed. This is quite fascinating. I can’t think up designs, so I am very impressed by those of you who can. Yes, Christmas is closer than we think!

  3. Janet Brandt says:

    What a great collaboration!
    Please share your progress as you work.

  4. Penny says:

    Beautiful — and such a wonderful design process. I loved reading about your plans and will be waiting to see it come completely to life.

  5. Dima says:

    Looks like a very interesting project. Can’t wait to see how it will come out.

  6. Oh my goodness. That is a simply fabulous design – and right up my street, being a huge fan of Jessie M King, MM Macintosh et al. Very excited to see how your collaborative work progresses on this one!

  7. Sue Jones says:

    A charming panel. I am sure you two clever folk can make something wonderful in fabric from it, but it would be lovely backdrop as a painting.

  8. Carolyn says:

    I just love this design. There are so many possibilities with it. Just one angel on it’s own would make a wonderful embroidery. I will be looking forward to seeing what you do with it.

  9. Hi Rachel! This is looking fabulous!
    Detached buttonhole wings would look delightful.
    I look forward to seeing what you both decide on.
    Barbara xx

  10. Amanda says:

    That’s exquisite. I’m a Glaswegian, and really love the Glasgow School. It will be wonderful to watch your progress.

  11. Lady Fi says:

    Simple yet lovely!

  12. Tammie says:

    this is so very lovely
    the angels
    the sky
    the colors
    such a beautiful design

  13. What a stunning design. I think you could work it in and on anything at all it it would still look incredible!

  14. Oh my… this is going to be gorgeous. I love that you and your mother are working on it together. What wonderful memories you are building!

    And thank you for sharing your embroidered version of your mother’s Christ child and parents painting on last week’s Stitchery Link Party. Both your mother’s painting and the stitchery are beautiful in their own way and each conveys a unique feeling to the viewer.

  15. karen says:

    beautiful design Rachel… may be ready for next Christmas though. I hope so.

  16. Susan says:

    Your mother is quite as talented as you are. I see where you got it. 😉

  17. jenclair says:

    How gorgeous! I love the MacIntoshes in any form they decided to create. Your mother has done such a beautiful job with this.

  18. […] I am still trying to work out how to do the Chorus of Angels, I’ve decided to work a single Angel from the Chorus in an entirely different medium – […]