This week’s guest post is by Sara Trentham – who is creating something rather wonderful using free machine embroidery. I really can’t wait to see how this one turns out. Here’s Sara’s story of her creative process:
I’ve enjoyed reading the previous guest posts and as a relative newbie to ATCs have picked up some top tips- working round a business card is a great idea and I’ve been struggling with finishing the edges in an acceptably straight way so I’ve been looking at what others are doing. I’ve never written a blog but have been thinking about it so when Ali said she was looking for guest posts I jumped in.
I started sewing again a few years ago- I sewed at school (my art teacher was very into machine embroidery) but then lapsed for more than a few years until I needed cushions and curtains. I love making things for myself and other people and always have multiple projects on the go. I enjoy the process as much as the end result– working out what I want to do and the repetitive action of needle and thread, whether hand or machine. Stitching is absorbing, it creates space in an otherwise frenetic world. I do like small things and that’s partly what attracted me to the ATC swaps in the first place- it’s a chance to create something small and contained and to try out different processes and ideas- as well as the excitement of a mini picture in the post.
My first ATC was the Winter Sparkle which I really enjoyed making:
I had an idea and enjoyed layering and using different materials (I knew those jump rings would come in handy sometime). I did the Home Sweet Home swap but it didn’t quite gel- and my photos are too blurry so I can’t show you quite how wonky my edges were (very), though I still hope my recipient liked it.
With the current ATC, I’ve been thinking about a favourite photograph:
The photograph sits on the windowsill by my desk at home and is an Instax photo (like a Polaroid) which shows a slightly blurry view of a field of sunflowers framed by a tumbling down barn or farmhouse, and a large tree- oak perhaps. It’s not a great photo but it takes me back to a number of holidays spent in France with family – you don’t get sunflowers like that here in Yorkshire. In an age of digitisation, I like the fact that it’s an instant photograph. No filters or cropping or subtle post production twiddling. I’m as guilty as the next person- I routinely crop and edit photos, increasing contrast, chopping out that wine glass or lamppost. My little photograph doesn’t do that- it shows exactly what I saw that moment when I took it. My camera made the physical photo in that same location and then I brought it home with me, and it’s travelled with me as I’ve moved house, had a baby, changed jobs….. it gives me a connection to a time and place.
The size of the photograph- 2 x 3 inches- makes it perfect for an ATC. I’ve started by sketching out the image onto calico and then using free machine embroidery as a form of drawing (should’ve have used a hoop though- too impatient!).
The focus is the field of sunflowers so I’ve ‘sketching’ the rest in shades of white, grey and green. As I carry on I’ll build up layers of stitching to try to build up some depth.
I don’t want it to be too literal so it’ll probably get more abstract. I like a bit of hand sewing as well and I’m going to use French knots for the central field as the texture will contrast with the machine stitched areas.
They may be some more knots on the front patch of grass as well, I’m not decided yet. And I still have to work out how to get the edges and back right….
Sara – good luck with the perennial ATC problem of finishing, and thanks so much for sharing.