Motherhood is a series of "first" moments. And, perhaps, there's no moment more special than the one in which you see your baby for the first time. Albeit, that first glimpse is often in a scratchy, shadowy snapshot that shows the faint silhouette of a small face, and even smaller hands and feet. So when artist Veselka Bulkan discovered she was pregnant, she used her ultrasound picture as the inspiration for her craft: embroidery.
"Last year around this time, it was the first months of my pregnancy," Bulkan tells us. "And I was thinking of making something particular for these days of my life."
That particular something was her daughter's ultrasound picture embroidered onto black fabric, the grainy details stitched in white thread, and framed in a 4-inch wooden hoop. When she used it as a way to announce her pregnancy to followers of her Instagram account, @catchtheinspiration, rounds of congratulations came pouring in, and with them, special requests to recreate their own ultrasound photos.
She happily received "many lovely comments and inquiries" but admits, "Nevertheless, I was never thinking of accepting any orders at that time. In fact, this embroidery was just about to be a beautiful keepsake for my pregnancy, and a particular piece at my nursery."
You might assume a simplicity in stitching such a stark black-and-white image, but an ultrasound picture can prove difficult to replicate.
"A baby ultrasound embroidery is just abstract spots," she explains. "One-to-one mapping of these abstract areas to ultrasound is obviously not straightforward task at all. There is no general solution to the challenges like blurred or incomplete regions, difficulty ratio of black and white areas, and different types of textures and postures." Therefore, she screens all requested ultrasound keepsakes before accepting an embroidery project.
"Balancing motherhood with creative activities is a bit challenging," she admits. But she refuses to let the hustle and bustle of her day get in the way of her craft. We've heralded her needlework designs in the past (particularly, of the vegetable variety—Romeo carrots and radishes are our favorites) and she continues to create colorful needle-felted and embroidered decorative works in Munich, Germany.
She is beginning to accept custom orders for ultrasound embroideries. Although admittedly, it is a labor of love and intricate hands-on skill (each ultrasound embroidery takes about 2 to 4 weeks to craft). And she is a new mother herself, after all.
"Embroidering is a slow process, and most of my current time is obviously dedicated to my little one for the moment," she says. "I also need slots for creating new things, because this is how I am. Meanwhile, I also continue to enjoy my first months of my motherhood, and still have time to settle down my activities."
Looking for more Mother's Day gift ideas? She'll love these fabric flower brooches: