RISD’s Digital Embroidery Classes

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.


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


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.


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!


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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