During my time working as a Teaching Artist at the MAKESHOP, I liked to have a project in my own hands so visitors didn’t feel like I was looming over them. Finding a good medium was tough: it had to be something that I could put down quickly to give help as needed, something that wouldn’t be destroyed immediately if I left it on a table, and preferably something that could fit it my pocket. Although the last time I’d tried to embroider anything was probably when I was about ten years old, embroidery fit the bill and I ended up doing a lot of it.

I had a handful of constraining rules for my embroidery projects. I used medium-weight preferably unprinted woven fabrics cut into swatches about six inches wide, quadrupled sewing thread instead of embroidery floss, and no hoop (for better pocketing). I tried to start and finish an embroidery on the same day, and everything was freehanded (no sketching in pencil) and improvisational.

Here are some of my favorite results: Fig. 1

Because of the improvisational element, many of them were very abstract. Of these, most turned out kind of mediocre, but there were some I liked: Radial symmetry Organs. Abstract giraffe.

Although representational works took more concentration, I liked how most of them turned out: Jelly. Dino. Idea. Apple II. Run run run run.

Some were downright architectural: Solids. Ionic. Skyline, starts.

One challenge of freehanding is lettering: Dainty. Pow! Needle threader. Here’s one I made during that time but on a bus traveling through Pennsylvania instead of in the MAKESHOP. (The lack of a hoop is particularly evident here, unfortunately.) Mundys Corner, Nanty Glo, Conyngham.

I scanned these to post them here, and unfortunately that means that the more dimensional pieces are partially out of focus. Squid. Picnic. I am very proud of this one, which is an attempt at mirror work with various trinkets from around the MAKESHOP: Shinies.

Some of my coworkers also embroidered, and I was constantly amazed by their work; for example, Lindsay’s tiny deathcomics and Derek’s elaborate geometric compositions.

| Textiles