We all have our small hobbies and passions, but for Heather Hems sewing has been a huge part of her life for the last 17 years. She has dedicated at least 10 -12 hours to sewing every day and has created a collection of embroidered artworks twice the size of the Bayeux Tapestry.
The 69-year-old pensioner claims she has dedicated over 70,000 hours to sewing, over the last 17 years, time in which she also managed to hold down a job as a typesetter, raise three children and do house chores. But how did she find time to do it all, you ask? Mrs. Hems says she worked all day, then took care of her kids, and finally sat down and sewed 10 to 12 hours every night. She only slept for two hours before doing it all over again. This amazing lady says she owes her ambitious mentality to her father who used to challenge her to do things as a child, and race to see who could collect various stuff faster.
Heather Hems passion for embroidery started when she was just 10 years old, in Sri Lanka, where she was born, and has since then dedicated most of her life to it. Throughout the years, the sewing master has produced various large-scale works for charity foundations, which ultimately inspired her to start work on the 23 embroidered panels in her personal collection. She wanted to pay homage to the people and events that influenced the way we live our lives today, by doing what she does best – sew. Mrs. Hems, from Lyndhurst, England, spent thousands of pounds on materials and had to undergo shoulder surgery after her bones crumbled due to sustaining a heavy panel for long periods of time. But she didn’t let anything stop her from reaching her goal and she’s now the proud owner of a 50-square-meter embroidery collection.
The 23 unique panels which range from four to eight square feet and focus on themes like “Our World” and “Sports” are currently on display at the Blue Belle Gallery, in Lyndhurst. Heather Hems is still sewing, although she’s concentrating on smaller pieces, and says it never gets boring. She now hopes to receive recognition for her work from the Guinness Book of Records.
Photos via Heather Hems’ profile on the Hand Embroidery Network, where you can check out all her 23 embroidered panels.