Machine Embroidery

Exploring Etsy with loadofolbobbins!

Hello and welcome to the first of my special super-sized festive posts. Instead of you having to read my waffling, I’m going to get cracking straight away and introduce you to the first of today’s two glorious makers: Sam Owen and her shop ‘Minimanna’.

Bunny Brooches by Minimanna (Hand Embroidery)

Bunny Brooches by Minimanna (Hand Embroidery)

Apple Needle Books by Minimanna (Machine Embroidery)

Apple Needle Books by Minimanna (Machine Embroidery)

After finishing a Fine Art degree in Manchester Sam worked as a freelance artist, leading workshops with young people, making and exhibiting paintings and then having children of her own. For a while there just wasn’t any time for creativity, but like all of us know, it’s not just something that can be switched off. So, armed with her daughter’s favourite old clothes and a sewing machine she set about making some bunting and a cushion, with the aim of making a lovely keepsake or two that would fit her style. Once she’d started making things she just couldn’t stop, rekindling a long lost love of sewing and heralding the arrival of the wonderful ‘Minimanna’. Like all good needlecrafters Sam has now developed a serious fabric addiction and with her unique style loves mixing wild patterns and colour – highly successfully if you ask me. As time allows she’ll also be making a return to painting, aiming to include lino cuts and screen prints soon, so lots for us to look forward to seeing in the future!

Camp Fire Cushion by Minimanna (Machine Embroidery)

Camp Fire Cushion by Minimanna (Machine Embroidery)

Robot and Flamingo Cushions by Minimanna (Machine Embroidery)

Robot and Flamingo Cushions by Minimanna (Machine Embroidery)

What is your earliest stitching memory?

I spent every spare minute drawing and relentlessly making things as a kid, and my earliest stitching memory is hard to pin down…there was embroidery from weird drawings in cheap colouring books, my favourite friend for a while was a ‘Knitting Nancy’, joined shortly after by a selection of misshapen fun fur elephants and spiders. I owe a lot to my aunt who taught me how to use her sewing machine and got me interested in making clothes.

Sugar Skull Decorations by Minimanna (Hand Embroidery)

Sugar Skull Decorations by Minimanna (Hand Embroidery)

What fires your imagination?

Colour, light and typography…these are at the top of my list, though give me ten minutes with a clear mind and wide eyes and pretty much anything will fire my imagination. The light shining through trees, yellow cranes lit up against a thunderous grey sky, the shadows cast by a fence, the cute graphics on a packet of Korean Chocolate Mushrooms. I have a growing collection of food packaging that I love which decorates my kitchen walls, ranging from Instant Jellyfish to vintage Atomic Fireball Candy. Discovering Instagram has been very interesting, as it’s helped me to see what it is that catches my eye, and along with Pinterest, is a huge source of inspiration.

Blue Tit and Robin Hoop Art by Minimanna (Hand Embroidery)

Blue Tit and Robin Hoop Art by Minimanna (Hand Embroidery)

Typography and Honey Bee Cushions by Minimanna (Machine Embroidery)

Typography and Honey Bee Cushions by Minimanna (Machine Embroidery)

If that wasn’t enough to delight you all for one day, it’s now time to share the beautiful work of Sojung McCarthy and her shop ‘doalittledance’.

Applique Face Purse by Doalittledance (Hand Embroidery)

Applique Face Purse by Doalittledance (Hand Embroidery)

Applique Face Pouch by Doalittledance (Hand Embroidery)

Applique Face Pouch by Doalittledance (Hand Embroidery)

Sojung originally studied Visual Communication Design in South Korea and worked as a graphic designer for several years. While working on the design for a monthly magazine, working 24/7 on a computer in a cold office she began to miss working with ‘real’ materials she could touch and feel. In the end she moved to the UK and studied Illustration at Arts University Bournemouth, where she got to play with all sorts of materials and make a big mess all day, every day! There’s nothing I like better than a good mess, not such a big fan of the tidy up after though! Still based in Bournemouth Sojung likes to experiment with all her creative skills including drawing, painting, sewing, writing and even singing. Crafting is a very important part of her creative practice and she can’t seem to stop sewing these days – I’m sure we can all empathise with that!

'Robin on a Tree' Hoop Art by Doalittledance (Hand Embroidery)

‘Robin on a Tree’ Hoop Art by Doalittledance (Hand Embroidery)

'Milk Time Kitty Cat' Hoop Art by Doalittledance (Hand Embroidery)

‘Milk Time Kitty Cat’ Hoop Art by Doalittledance (Hand Embroidery)

'Tea Time Fox' Hoop Art (detail) by Doalittledance (Hand Embroidery)

‘Tea Time Fox’ Hoop Art (detail) by Doalittledance (Hand Embroidery)

What is your earliest stitching memory?

My earliest stitching memory is with my mum – I was around 8 years old, and she taught me how to make chain stitches which was the only kind of embroidery stitch she knew. In fact, she was not a sewer at all. The seamstress’ blood that my grandmother had somehow skipped my mum and was poured all into me!

Cows on a Field Cushion by Doalittledance (Needle Felt)

Cows on a Field Cushion by Doalittledance (Needle Felt)

What fires your imagination?

Traveling. I bring my sketchbook when I travel and do some drawings while my husband drinks tea (he is a heavy tea drinker and demands a tea break every 2 hours). I get more ideas this way than sitting at my work table.

What I’ve shared with you in today’s edition really is just scratching the surface of all the wonderful goodies that both of these inspiring makers have to offer so do go ahead and visit their shops, here and here.

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Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her new Etsy shop.

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Mr X Stitch presents Phat Quarter Finds

The Phat Quarter is our Flickr group where you can share pictures of your best stitcheries!

It’s also the place where we host our legendary swaps to coincide with our Fifth Friday Festivals of Fabulousness!

Here’s the latest 20 pictures that have been added. Why don’t you come and join us?

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The Cutting & Stitching Edge | Contemporary Embroidered Art from Mr X Stitch

Helen Sill is a mixed media artist from Hampshire, England.

Helen Sill

“I use paper cloth and stitch to try to make sense of my world.  I draw into paper and cloth and  using hand stitch and free machine embroidery in an attempt to convey a personal story.   At the moment I am using the power of stitch to make books, boxes and pictures. 

Helen Sill - Cubes

“I am inspired by great works of art, great artists and the female (i.e. my!) experience.  I respect the huge tradition of embroidery and believe it needs to constantly evolve to be relevant in today’s society.  Textile art needs to be more out there in the public domain.”

Helen Sill - Wall Pieces

I met Helen at this year’s London Knitting & Stitching Show and thought her work was really interesting. Filled with stream of consciousness commentary and spontaneous doodles that are converted to stitch, her art pieces are encapsulated thoughts made real.

Helen Sill - Stitched Doodles

There’s a rawness to Helen’s work that fits in nicely with the unfiltered content she creates – an examination of her pieces, which she makes for deliberate interaction, is a wander through her unconscious and a showcase of her thoughts on life, art and a whole lot more. It’s a nice idea and I look forward to seeing how it evolves.

Helen Sill - Cubes

Find out more about Helen at her website.

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The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.

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

There’s pure magic coming out of Firecracker Studio, the home of Wellington, New Zealand multimedia artist Katherine Bertram. Formally trained as a printmaker in Sydney, Australia, Bertram creates incredible works of art using freehand machine embroidery, skillfully placing thread to create uniquely captivating images — like this striking fabric-collaged portrait of her daughter, complete with blue crown. THOSE EYES.

firecracker-portrait

Bertram’s stitching creates texture and nuance out of stark black and white, in a manner that echoes engraving or linocut prints.

firecracker-mountain

firecracker-scene

Her work’s not only at home on gallery walls — Firecracker Studio sells embroidered items like these bird purses and cushions, for usable textile art that brings a bit of that magic to everyday life.

firecracker-owl

firecracker-pillows

Captivated by Bertram’s unique style? See more of her portraits, creatures, cityscapes, and fabric collage pieces!

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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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Mr X