'She sat with a piece of embroidery before her, and I watched her needle go in and out as she deftly painted in silks a picture of Joseph's dream."

A Traveller in Time - Alison Uttley

Hello, I’m Vivien Massery, thank you for visiting my website and spending time with me.

Home is the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, where Rick and I, along with our cats Rowan and Anwen, live in the smallest house in the street and love it. From our front door we can see the ‘misty mountains’ of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and the woods of C.S.Lewis’ Narnia; it’s an inspirational and magical place to live and my embroideries have grown from our surroundings.

I embroider by hand in silk on antique linen taking native British wildlife as my subject and adding snippets of poetry or folklore to accentuate or evoke an emotional connection to them. Apart from the embroidery silks everything I use has had a previous life, from the antique linen to the wooden picture frames with their original gold slips and old glass. I use traditional embroidery stitches, although I’ve evolved more free-form stitches to capture the fur and feathers of my characters as accurately as possible. 

As a child I was always creating something, a drawing, a play, an imaginary world.  At the age of nine I discovered Alison Uttley’s book, A Traveller in Time.  I read it repeatedly; fascinated by the idea of the past and present being so closely interwoven that you could slip from one to the other, and completely enthralled by the story of the Elizabethan household and its daily life. It was a creative influence too, because of it I learnt embroidery, it sparked a respect and love for the nature around me and led me to the conviction that our ancestors are almost tangible, if only you know how to look for them… As a result, my art has a strong connection to the countryside and those that live there, and is linked to the past through the materials that I use. 

The old Celtic and Norse stories exert a strong influence too; tales that illustrate how the people that told them made sense of the land they inhabited, their connection to the seen and unseen in their landscape.  When I embroider, I want to do the same, to create a bond with the animal or bird on which I’m focussed.  I want to understand how it feels, how it lives; concentrating on the tiny details, the way the fur falls, the turn of a head, the tension in an ear, allows me to fall under its spell. I hope to show how each has an individual personality; they aren’t simply a representation of their species, they each have their own spirit and place in our universe.

I hope you will experience this too, that you enjoy browsing these pages and meeting the various small creatures that make their homes in the woods and fields around the Malvern Hills. Life is such a magical adventure, the more you look, the more you see, and there is always something in the natural world around us with which to fall in love, and to view again with the eyes of a child.