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Plants in stitches: miniature herbal embroideries

by Amanda Cain

Creating mini plant embroidery pieces started in my first year at ArborVitae. In monthly herb assignments we share what we learned connecting with each plant, and it’s suggested that we create a drawing to accompany our words. I have been embroidering for many years, so I thought it would be fun to use this medium rather than drawing.

Mini embroidery allows me to work on pieces in a shorter time frame, and the restriction on the size allows me to bring out more creativity. It doesn’t take much to fill up the space, so I have to really pinpoint what I’m trying to say with fewer stitches. When I sit down to begin a new embroidery design, I think about my relationship to the plant and the medicine it provides, spiritually, physically, and/or emotionally. How does this plant make me feel? What do I think about when I look at the plant? What relationship do I have with them? What relationship do others have with them? 

Sometimes I embroider exactly what I see, sometimes I embroider what the plant wants me to see

An embroidered fire with two logs

Cinamomum cassia (cinnamon) - The Fire Starter


An embroidered birch tree connected to saplings.

Betula lenta (black birch, sweet birch) - The Community Builder


An embroidered calendula flower surrounded by clouds.

Calendula officinalis (calendula) - The Cloud Breaker


Embroidered oat seeds in a spiral.

Avena sativa (oats, oatstraw, milky oats) - The Resilient One


Embroidered cloves in the shape of a human tooth.

Syzygium aromaticum (clove) - The Tooth Pain Champion


Embroidered green hot air balloon.

Lobelia inflata (lobelia, puke weed) - The Lung Opener


Embroidered pine tree with visible, interconnected roots.

Pinus strobus (eastern, northern white pine) - The Peacekeeper


Embroidered California poppy flower.

Eschscholzia californica (California poppy) - The Hidden Gnome


Embroidered willow tree.

Salix spp. (willow) - The Water Searcher


Amanda Cain is a clinical herbalist and fiber artist. She is a second-year student at ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism. You can connect with her at and @verdant_path on Instagram.


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