Gear Threads – The Digitized Photo Quilts Of Charlotte Ziebarth

Charlotte Ziebarth - Autumnal Equinox #2 - Hint Of Frost - Machine Embroidered Art Quilt (detail)

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

Today on Gear Threads we dive back into the world of artistic embroidery digitizing. It was once thought of as mostly a commercial tool, but artists are starting to get their hands on digitizing software and incorporating it into their textile creations with pretty cool results.

This work comes from textile artist  Charlotte Ziebarth, author of the book Artistic Photo Quilts and a stitcher very familiar with the concept of combining the digital with the textile. After experimenting heavily on using photography on fabric to create rich, layered quilts, Charlotte dived into the world of digitizing to add another photo sourced element to her textile work.

I came across the beautiful machine embroidered quilts of hers online, and upon visiting her website, I was instantly pulled in by this quote:

For the past couple of years I have been learning how to digitize my drawings using the Bernina Embroidery software for a Bernina artista 730 with embroidery module. The software is often used for embroidering logos, teddybears, or exotic embroidery from times past.  I have thought there were untapped possibilities for using digitzed embroidery on my stitched digital art quilts.

Untapped indeed! I contacted Charlotte to get some of her thoughts on how she uses digitizing software in her textile work.


Although I could use drawings for designing the digitized embroidery, my idea was to see if I could use my photographs as the basic blueprint for my digitized embroidery. So I have started with high contrast photographs with simple lines in them – bare tree branches, grasses, etc. Working in Photoshop I turn them into black on white drawings using one of the sketch filters. Usually a lot of erasing is involved also. When I have something simple that retains the essence of the photo I take it to the Bernina Embroidery Software to digitize it.

Digitizing Process

In essence what Charlotte is doing is using digitizing and quilting akin to photo collage. Not only does she use printed photos on fabric to create many of her quilts, but she can create large embroidered landscapes by layering the single digitized pieces on top of each other, which lends very naturally to the organic shapes she often chooses to work with in her Bernina software.

See Also
Erich Campbell - Stitches Magazine Cover - Carousel Horse - January 2012

I find her work fascinating, as it is all about photo collage but in a totally unexpected medium: textiles. The deep colors of her quilts and the mesmerizing repetition of her layers contrasts beautifully with the harsh, often jagged edges of the machine stitched embroidery.

It’s a unique look at one way an artist is using digitizing software for contemporary embroidery pieces, a practice I hope continues as this technology reaches more and more curious hands. If you want to check out more photo quilts of Charlotte’s, you can see more work on her website.


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

View Comments (2)
  • Items Strings we plunge back into the world of creative embroidering digitizing. It was once believed of as mostly a professional device, but performers are beginning to get their arms on digitizing application and including it into their fabric designs with very awesome outcomes.This work comes from fabric specialist  Currently Ziebarth, writer of the publication Artistic Picture Blankets and a stitcher very acquainted with the concept of mixing the electronic with the fabric.I could use sketches for developing the scanned embroidering, my concept was to see if I could use my images as the primary plan for my scanned embroidering.<a href=””>Digitize Embroidery Designss</a>

  • Innovative embroidering digitizing. It was once considered of as mostly an established system, but entertainers are starting to get their hands on digitizing program and such as it into their material styles with very amazing results.Artistic Image Bedding and a stitcher very familiar with the idea of preparing the digital with the material.I could use images for creating the looked at embroidering.<a href=””>Digitize</a>

Scroll To Top