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Free-style Machine Embroidery

 

Free-style machine embroidery is a technique I have been exploring for many years and is now a defining element of a lot of my work. It is a rhythmic process like drawing with the needle, the fabric is moved around under the needle. It is completely free-style, no automatic machine settings here!  I use an old semi-industrial Bernina 730 sewing machine, I would find it hard to use anything else!
I am drawn to using natural fibres such as silk and linen as the base of my embroidery work and use a range of sewing threads to get the desired textural effects. I also work on dissolvable fabric, a exciting process of the fabric dissolving away in water and leaving only the stitches! Like drawing, it is the imagery that slowly appears in front of me that is so satisfying. I love the textural results of my embroidery, the details that can be achieved with the layering of stitches and fabrics.
I find a lot of inspiration in the materials themselves when I’m working with this style of embroidery. I include a lot of old fabric pieces, particularly Japanese silks. I love the idea that fabric can hold so much history and it’s own story can be woven into mine. I can’t bare to throw out tiny bits of textile treasure and I will often spend a lot of time cutting and laying out fabrics as the base of my ideas. My work can go off on many different tangents, following the flow, immersing in the creativity and always with a serendipitous element.
I also find much of my inspiration and concepts in my natural environment and botanical illustration, the intricate textures and patterns of plants providing endless inspiration.  
I use this embroidery technique to create images on clothing, journal covers, brooches and 2D framed artwork. I love that is it a constantly evolving process and the possibilities are endless.