My Favourite… An ATC Swap Guest Post

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:

SaraTB ATC Winter Sparkle

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:

Summer atc blog 1

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!).

Summer atc blog 2

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.

Summer ATC blog 3

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.

Summer atc blog 4

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.

6 thoughts on “My Favourite… An ATC Swap Guest Post

  1. I like hat you are doing an I love your original photo. I have some old photos that truly bring back the feeling of being there – even if they are not perfect. I think also they were special because you thought before taking a photo because developing costs were quite a lot!!! Looking forward to seeing the end result.

  2. Love this post Sarah, I haven’t done any free machine embroidery for a long time now and I used to really enjoy it. I laughed at the concept of editing photos, i take loads of digi photos, but can’t edit green cheese
    look forward to seeing your end atc

  3. What an inspiring post. I really love machine embroidery and wish mine was up to scratch. I too am working from an image. Looking forward to seeing your finished ATC on Flikr.

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