Friday 26 July 2013

... and our Embroidery & Mixed Media Course

As mentioned before, we recently went on an Embroidery and Mixed Media Course at Farncombe Estate. Our tutor was Rosalind Davis, who is an amazing artist, curator and tutor - please check out her website here for more information and some examples of Rosalind's work.

Our course ran from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon and we were part of a great group of 6 people. In preparation for our course, we were asked to bring along 6-8 images that inspired us along with a selection of fabrics, threads and interesting materials. As we both have quite a collection of 'materials' it was tough to narrow our choices down and ended up taking far too much as usual - better safe than sorry though!!.

We started with drawing exercises with different media and techniques to help us really look at the texture and form of our images. These consisted of:
  • Continuous line drawing (without taking the pen off the paper)
  • Left handed drawing
  • Drawing with both left and right hands simultaneously
  • Drawing by looking at the image, but not the sketchpad
  • Eyes closed drawing from memory
  • Using 2 pens taped together (to add depth)
Moving onto drawing on fabric then experimenting with different machine embroidery techniques....
  • Free motion machine embroidery (straight and zigzag stitch)
  • Couching wool and thicker threads for texture and depth
Rosalind also demonstrated various other techniques including applique and reverse applique, and hand embroidery (and the different variations of all of these to create texture and effect).

Then onto our final pieces of artwork....

I knew I wanted to do an underwater themed piece and had several images with me. I thought it would be a starfish, however after the various drawing techniques, I realised that I was really drawn to the jellyfish.
I started off with a blue piece of cotton and splattered it with watered down paint to create interest an depth to the background. I attached a piece of cream cotton to the back so that the reverse applique would show - on the coral and behind the oral arms (I just looked that up!).
The bell part of the jellyfish is painted organza stitched over some silk for padding, the tentacles are orange wool couched onto the fabric, and the oral arms(!) are made up of a selection of threads and yarns etc that I had. I used bits from the same collection for the sea weed/coral, and added to this with hand embroidery.
There is some free motion embroidery at the top to suggest more coral in the background. We ran out of time but I would like to add more tentacles, perhaps using embroidery to make them different a different technique to show perspective.

I had originally planned to do something based on trees or leaves, but as time went on I realised that the image I wanted to focus on was my photo of a wild geranium flower. My piece was built up by first painting the shape white (to make sure the blue shades were vibrant enough) then adding different shades of watered down acrylics.
I used various techniques to give interest to the petals, including applique with painted organza and machine embroidery in different patterns. This was to try and give the effect of light, shade and texture. I also added some hand embroidery for the stamen.
I had backed my front piece of fabric with a darker shade of green, so this allowed me to use reverse applique for the leaves. I also added other leaves using 'normal' applique to try and give the impression of depth. The wool stems were attached with machine couching - which was a new technique to me as well!
There's still a couple of finishing touches I'd like to add, including some some more hand embroidery and perhaps some more leaves in the background.

Here are the art pieces from the others in our group - aren't they fab!
We had great fun making these and trying lots of new techniques. Rosalind was also really good at encouraging us and helping us realise that there was no 'wrong way'! It was a bit scary at first putting needle to fabric, but actually some of the 'mistakes' can be your favourite bits!


  1. Sounds like a fabulous weekend:)

    Thanks for linking up to New to Me too

    1. We had a great weekend & learnt so many new things as well! x

  2. It sounds like you had some great experiences, and created some lovely projects too.

    1. Thanks Lucy. It was a great weekend & really fun to try new techniques as well! x

  3. It sounds like a great course - lots of work but all fun. C

    1. Yes it was a packed weekend - but totally worth it! x

  4. Your finished pieces are lovely - I especially love all the textures created by the different techniques.

  5. I love these pieces you have created. Thanks for sharing them!

  6. Such beautiful mixed media and embroidery. Thanks for sharing all your colorful ideas.

  7. What a fun weekend! Hopped over from the Made by You Monday link party. New follower and would love for you to come follow me back at Dorothy Sue and Millie B's too!

    1. Thanks & welcome Suzie! It certainly was a fun weekend! x


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