Sewing through twisted silk to “paint” a branch.
Using the Irish Singer for “drawing” and “painting”
One of my sewing machines and pictures up on the wall but most of the usual creative mess tidied away for the exhibition!
John Prescott was famously called “Two jags” I thought I could outdo him with my three sewing machines but I see that just today the Mail is dubbing him “Three jags”… I use all the machines for different things. I used to do all my work on the two domestic machines. Both Elnas one I have had for 40 years and the other about 30. I now tend to use the older one just for sewing things up such as backgrounds and finishing now, while the younger which has a lot of programmable embroidery stitches I use freehand. This gives some very interesting textural effects. The big “Irish singer” is fast, very powerful and a bit of a brute. I got it only about 6 or 7 years ago and was afraid of it at first. It took me a while to tame it but I love it dearly now and can make it do the most delicate of stitching (see the series of Tiny pictures) as well as sewing through thick layers and heavily scrunched up fabric. It is the one I use most now. It is set up without a foot and a feed dog so the needle is completely freehand. (I put it through my finger once! I have taken to using tweezers now for very fiddly things.) It can only do straight or zigzag but I can alter the width of the zigzag with my knee as I guide the material with both hands and or the tweezers. It is truly my electric paintbrush!
For the last two years I have opened my studio up for an exhibition in October. The first year I did this I invited my longtime friend, Marilyn Andreetti, a potter and stained glass artist and my daughter Mary Herbert, also a practising artist to join me. These are some photos from that exhibition.