Embroidery and metal

A fascinating three days at Art Van Go with Alysn Midgelow Marsden. I had previously done a little experimenting with copper shim and mesh for my  C & G course, liked the effects but never taken the techniques through to a finished piece.

This was different! We spent the first day drawing from our source material seedpods, mine being an acanthus stem. I’ve loved their architectural quality in the garden but never closely examined the structure  before. I almost regretted my complex choice. Alysn guided us gently through several ways of approaching studying and recording our vegetation and by the end of the day I really did know my plant.

The second day saw us exploring ways of colouring (much use of gas flame), manipulating and stitching our metals.




I decided that the stainless steel cloth is my absolute favourite, both for the lovely, subtle hues that came with heat and for its tactile qualities.

The final day gave us the opportunity to select from and combine our drawings and techniques to begin a resolved piece. I came up with an idea and began stitching but I think I went into it too quickly. I take quite a time to move from source and drawings and maybe theme, to a design – even the beginnings of one – that can develop as I work on it. I frequently find that when I am going through this process in a group situation I end up with something that just doesn’t work for me. It happened here. I have abandoned that piece and begun to devote time to my usual, almost painfully slow, process and have, I think, found a starting point I like better. Time will tell!

Do you find developing designs in these situations easy? I don’t. I’m fine in workshops where I’m producing samples but resolved pieces – not so good.

But I did learn a great deal from Alysn (who is an excellent tutor) both about technique, and more significantly, about ways of working through the design process. I just prefer to do it at home.

You can see some of the wonderful work others produced on Alysn’s website here (none of mine though).