Gear Threads

Gear Threads Is The Mr X Stitch Machine Embroidery Column - Presented By Urban Threads!

The art of machine embroidery, or digitizing, is still a small but growing medium for new artists and designers to explore and work in. The thing that keeps it small mostly comes from the fact that access to the digitizing equipment is expensive and limited, and learning it can be even more daunting without some professional guidance. For many years these skills have mostly been held tightly within the industry, used on logos and hats and not much more.

Luckily, along with more accessible projects like open source embroidery software, the Rhode Island School of Design is offering their students a chance to learn digital embroidery and explore its artistry for themselves. The class is part of a 5-week-long winter term class at the prestigious fine arts college.

RISD describes the digital embroidery in the class for newcomers who are unfamiliar…

Digital embroidery transforms hand-crafted couture into a work of fine art. Just like a tattoo where an image is created with needles and color, so embroidered fabric or paper is needle-stitched with colored threads. … The resulting personalized textile can be applied to fabrics for apparel or interior applications as well as fine art.

Well-known textile embroidery artist Michael Savoia led the class in training on this modern embroidery software to create a new generation of artists who can use this medium to express themselves, and industry magazine Stitches did a great overview of some of the work that has come out of the RISD classes.

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Students work through inspirations of classic and contemporary art, using everything from Da Vinci to Mackintosh to inspire and try out new digitizing techniques.

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Students were of course also encouraged to create their own works of art using the software and machines now at their disposal, and the results are free-flowing and pretty awesome.

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You can see more images and read more about it over on Stitches, or see the course described on RISD’s website itself. This school has already turned out amazing digitizing artists such as Coral & Tusk, featured earlier on Gear Threads. Here’s hoping it turns out many more.

Have you heard of any other places you can learn digitizing for machine embroidery? Share it in the comments!

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Urban Threads - Unique and Awesome Machine Embroidery DesignsGear Threads is brought to you from the offbeat gals at Urban Threads. Created by illustrator Niamh O’Connor, Urban Threads is revolutionizing machine embroidery one edgy, elegant, innovative, and/or offbeat design at a time. Discover the future of digital stitchery at www.urbanthreads.com.

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Gear Threads Is The Mr X Stitch Machine Embroidery Column - Presented By Urban Threads!

 So usually this column features nifty art in machine embroidered form. Today brings something a bit more behind-the-scenes, but if you’re as into shaking up the machine embroidery world as we are, this’ll be relevant to your interests.

Software developers Jonathan Greig and Josh Varga just launched a Kickstarter for Embroidermodder 2, a cross-platform program to create and edit embroidery designs. What makes this different from other machine embroidery programs on the market is that Embroidermodder is open source. For some users, this may not mean much — you’d use it for day-to-day tasks much like any other program (and part of the goal is to create a cost-effective option for this). But for those of a programming persuasion, open source software would allow anyone with the skills to tweak and dabble with the software, creating new features like a mad embroidery scientist.

Embroidermodder features

Click for a biggie to read about the program’s features.

Between them, Greig and Varga have experience with computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM), embroidery formats, and operating and programming for various computer numerical control (CNC) equipment. Grieg says he fell into machine embroidery when asked if he could use his technical skills to solve a stitchy problem. He found an early version of the program, modified it to suit his needs, shared it with Varga (one of the original creators of Embroidermodder), and next thing he knew he was part of the project. Now, if enough backers are on board, the two plan to take Embroidermodder from a side project to an accessible tool for working with machine embroidery.

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3D rendering of a design helps users visualize what it will look like stitched.

In an industry that’s so proprietary, open-source software is a step in an exciting direction, laying the groundwork for machine embroiderers to get creatively involved on a new level and approach their craft not only as consumers of machines, software, and design files — but also, if they’re so inclined, as producers of whatever they’d like those things to become.

Possible future developments? Android and iOS versions, and maybe someday even an open source embroidery machine, like this amazing embroidery machine made of a sewing machine and Legos.

 

Check out Embroidermodder’s Kickstarter page to learn more about the project!

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Urban Threads - Unique and Awesome Machine Embroidery DesignsGear Threads is brought to you from the offbeat gals at Urban Threads. Created by illustrator Niamh O’Connor, Urban Threads is revolutionizing machine embroidery one edgy, elegant, innovative, and/or offbeat design at a time. Discover the future of digital stitchery at www.urbanthreads.com.

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Gear Threads Is The Mr X Stitch Machine Embroidery Column - Presented By Urban Threads!

Grace Garton is a full-time artist in Pontville, Tasmania, Australia. She works in many media, from painting to plush toys to embroidery, but the spirit of her work shines through in everything that comes out of her Little Black Crow Studio — little characters full of story and personality.

Grace uses freemotion machine embroidery and a hodgepodge of applique to create vivid, sweet images with a tactile dimension you can’t ignore.

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Textile Art by Grace Garton

These kitty brooches combine painting and stitching on canvas. The expressions on each feline face are just delightful!

Textile Art by Grace GartonTextile Art by Grace Garton

She also makes plush dolls and toys, including this primitive kitty — like one of the brooches come to life.

Textile Art by Grace Garton

The juxtaposition of Grace’s different types of work is intriguing — similar characters and themes, styled to showcase the unique strengths of each medium.

Art by Grace GartonArt by Grace Garton

See more in Grace’s Little Black Crow Etsy shop!

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Urban Threads - Unique and Awesome Machine Embroidery DesignsGear Threads is brought to you from the offbeat gals at Urban Threads. Created by illustrator Niamh O’Connor, Urban Threads is revolutionizing machine embroidery one edgy, elegant, innovative, and/or offbeat design at a time. Discover the future of digital stitchery at www.urbanthreads.com.

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Gear Threads Is The Mr X Stitch Machine Embroidery Column - Presented By Urban Threads!

Digital embroidery is often thought of as losing some of the finer traditions of hand embroidery techniques. Machines stitch in ways people can’t, but they also can’t always replicate the effects a hand-stitcher can create with a needle and long patient hours of work.

However, just like any technology, it can be used in some cases to preserve and showcase a technique of stitching that would otherwise become more and more rare in today’s modern world. The company Art of Silk is doing just that, by using modern digitizing techniques to bring to life traditional delicate silk embroidery.

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The technique used in this case is a little bit different than many digitizing companies employ. Instead of just digitizing regular art, each piece starts as its own hand embroidered masterpiece, done by an artisan as it has been for ages.

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Once that piece is painstakingly embroidered using thousand of tiny silk stitches, the piece is scanned and digitizers spend a month recreating each handmade stitch on the computer.

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What that means is each piece becomes a beautiful recreation of an original embroidered work, so the original art, which is understandably very expensive and unavailable to most regular folk, can be reproduced in a way that keeps this exquisite technique available at a lower cost, but continues to support the original artisans of the embroidery as a key part of the process.

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If you’re more curious about the technique, they have a whole video about how their designs are made, which you can check out here. You have to admit, the results are exquisite!

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Urban Threads - Unique and Awesome Machine Embroidery DesignsGear Threads is brought to you from the offbeat gals at Urban Threads. Created by illustrator Niamh O’Connor, Urban Threads is revolutionizing machine embroidery one edgy, elegant, innovative, and/or offbeat design at a time. Discover the future of digital stitchery at www.urbanthreads.com.

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