Sunday, 25 October 2009

Thank you Gina

Yesterday I travelled down to Peterborough, a short train ride from here, to join a Free Machine Embroidery workshop with the lovely Gina Ferrari. The workshop took place at Art And Stitch and its aim was to use the sewing machine to create a variety of textures to be used in a landscape type picture. I had been waiting for this workshop for several months and really looking forward to it as Gina is a very unassuming and generous teacher and I knew that I would learn a lot. I had high hopes and I was not disappointed!

As you can see we were suitably supervised throughout the workshop by this very attractive young lady who I think may have been laughing at me a little! :)


There were 10 of us taking part in the workshop and we soon made our presence felt by spreading ourselves out to fill the available table space.

Angela and Pam who run Art and Stitch kept the tea and coffee flowing all day and even supplied sustaining biscuits (chocolate and I think I spied Jammy Dodgers too!) in the afternoon when energies might have been flagging a little.
Gina eased us in gently with a little basic Free Machine practice but then soon had us working on small pieces which would become part of our final pieces. Before we got started on the stitching we painted bondaweb and tyvek which would be used in the afternoon to construct the landscapey scenes.

We stitched onto net which had been stabilised with water soluble membrane which was then dissolved away and prepared other texture with small pieces of knitting, the looser and holier the better, and also a little crochet.

Above is the tyvek with sheers stitched on top and blasted with the heat gun. Unfortunately my blue sheer came from an old scarf, maybe silk, and it did not respond to the heat gun other than to start burning! Oops! Despite that it has given me a nice dark piece which has its own texture.


So, by the afternoon we had knitted and crocheted pieces, embroidered netting, painted and stitched tyvek with sheers and a background of painted bondaweb to work with in adition to fabrics we had brought with us.

This is my very-much-a-work-in-progress seascape. My first piece of knitting came out with too tight a tension so I cut into it and opened it up before I stitched it down. It is the lowest layer in the piece above. I also cut up the stitched net to get more sympathetic shapes that would suggest wave shapes in my sea. I also incorporated scrim and previously painted nappy liner and velvet to start building the landscape. I have a lot of work to do to complete the scene but I really enjoyed getting this far. The idea is to use Free Machining to attach and incorporate the pieces together. Hopefully I will get time to work on this some more this week and it will then become my Journal Quilt for November.


I have to confess to a 'Eureka' moment during all this process. A light suddenly went on in my poor old brain while I was Free Machining in zigzag and I suddenly could see how I could use stitch to build and describe movement, landscapes, flowerscapes or whatever I want to make. I know that may be very obvious to all of you out there but I suddenly realised that I was capable of using this very simple device to achieve what I have been working towards for the past couple of years. FME has always seemed a great mystery to me but Gina's teaching at the previous and this workshop has opened me up to exciting possibilities. I know you read everywhere about Free Machining and drawing with the needle but it all seems a bit unreal till you actually sit down and do it. I'm not saying I'm suddenly going to turn into a Diva embroiderer but I am very excited to have this new tool to play with. I am also not scared of working on this piece because, if I make a 'mistake' I know I can use more stitch, handsewing and beads to get round it. Watch this space!


If you live anywhere near Peterborough do check out Art and Stitch. They are a lovely bunch of people and make you feel like one of the family and their workshops are always accompanied by copious cups of tea and coffee.

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Sarah said...

Hi Julie
It was nice to meet you at Art & stitch at the weekend and I found your blog through Gina's page.
Some great looking work you have there! I shall definately vivist again!

Mai-Britt Axelsen said...

Sounds like a great class - and your work looks very 'yummy'............ :D

Very inspirering!

Julie said...

Hi Sarah, thank you so much for leaving me a comment :) It was lovely to meet you too on Saturday. I had a great time at the workshop, it's a shame there's never much time to chat but we'd probably need 2 days if we did that too! I saw your buttons by the till and they are beautiful. I hope your class goes well. Maybe our paths will cross again. Btw, did I hear you say that you are a member of Rutland EG? I belong to Lincoln branch.

ju-north said...

Great work Julie! So many techniques to choose from!Looking forward to WIP and WF

silverpebble said...

Ooh lovely lovely Julie. You lucky thing to have been taught by Gina! Your seascape has beautiful colours in it. One day I will go to one of these workshops! One day!

Gina said...

Thank you Julie. I enjoyed my day too... lovely group of ladies and the shop has such a friendly atmosphere. Doesn't feel like work!