Embroidery Workshops

Motif in Parma embroidery

I have given two workshops in two weeks, both fun and very different.

Dragon worked in Parma embroideryThe first was with my Stitches with Stories group and we explored the origins of Parma embroidery then worked on a traditionally based small piece. Appropriately enough for the time of year it featured a heart-shaped foliate motif. In these sessions we also look at how the technique can be adapted to our own personal taste and style of work and already one member has embarked on a richly coloured version which looks wonderful.
On Saturday I led a workshop for the Brightlingsea branch of the Essex Handicrafts Association. A very different approach to embroidery which looked at creating pattern from simple stitches. The results can be used for many types of decorative work – mention was made of next year’s Christmas tree decorations and a set of napkins. I’ve used them for crazy patchwork in the past. I love the richness they give to the shapes.
I particularly enjoy this session as every person comes up with their own way of combining a framework stitch, such as Cretan, with two or more others. The resulting array of decorative lines is always intriguingly varied and this group didn’t disappoint. Jan even produced a fish from graduated up and down buttonhole!

Drawing with charcoal

“Drawing trees with pencil and charcoal” – the title of a morning workshop near me. Sounds fun, I thought, and more importantly, not intimidating to someone who hasn’t been in an art class since school. Also, the local Guild’s challenge this year has trees as its theme. Perfect.

Starting a new piece for City and Guilds, well for anything really,  means a design process – having the source and drawing. I know that “drawing” can include collage, photocopies, tracing, Photoshop and all sorts of activities not involving pencil and paper. Sometimes, though, actually drawing helps me find out about a subject because I have to really look at it. I am certainly no artist. My pictures are definitely for my eyes only! So, in an effort to improve my drawing skills, I signed up.

charcoal drawing of twisted tree.I had a very good time. Michele Webber was an excellent tutor and though I struggled with the pencil interpretation (Michele assured me that a few more hours work would sort it out!) I became completely absorbed in the satisfyingly free and messy charcoal. Michelle demonstrated how to work from dark backgrounds to lights and to more detailed areas and once I’d  grasped this idea I had a go. Much charcoal dust, and blackened fingers, later I felt I was on the way. I want to do some more work on this, as you can see above it’s not finished yet but has captured a mood I think. I’ve since had another go at home looking at one of my favourite local trees. I can recommend both Michele and CO3 Studios where the class was held.