Thursday, 2 November 2017

Zen Stitching at NSCCD


Embroidery can be a traditional, sustainable, and simple repetitive act, allowing time for reflection and bringing a meaningful and thoughtful approach to textile practice.


The Zen Stitching course allows students to explore ways in which to slow down by using simple techniques, reusing and re-inventing materials and limiting equipment. It is a treat to make time to sit and enjoy the reflective state as you get into the flow of embroidery. The sound of the thread passing through the fabric is therapeutic and it is exciting to watch your design grow with each stitch.


Taking the time to think about the practical and decorative techniques of mending last weekend I demonstrated a variety of stitches including: running stitch, back stitch, stem stitch, satin stitch, daisy stitch, and french knots; to name a few. 


During the workshop I was asked about the creative process and some of the students were looking for inspiration to get their creative juices flowing. A sketch book is incredibly important for jotting down ideas (handbag size is great so that you can carry it around with you) and I quite often use the camera on my phone as an 'aide memoir'.

Studies have shown that walking in nature assists with creativity and I always encourage others to explore their 'what if?' questions and to make mistakes, as often it is within the mistake that the magic occurs.


I also demonstrated Sashiko, a form of Japanese folk embroidery using a variation of running stitch to create a patterned background. The word sashiko means little stabs and refers to the small stitches used in this form of needlework. 

Looking for quick ways to transfer the design onto fabric to stitch, I found a great technique where you iron freezer paper to the back of fabric (to make it stiff like paper) and then you can run it through an ink jet printer. For full details visit

Sashiko demonstration on my stitch diary / sampler 

As always, I get inspiration from the students in my class and I am adding to my own stitch diary / sampler (above image).

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