• Sarah Jane

Stitching Workshop....

This year the Womanist Society has organised multiple workshops, one of which was a Stitching Workshop. This workshop was designed to be a slow-stitch workshop, intended to bring groups of people together and to be able to learn self-love, self-care and to be able to spend a couple of hours just socialising and relaxing through stitch.

Workshop poster from the main society page.

I felt that this relates well to my own practice as it involved a medium which I use a lot, but it also reminded me of the craftivist activities that I've been reading into, and felt that this was good first hand research into this method of stitching. To be able to spend time stitching as a group and seeing everyone's different techniques and results was really interesting. It was also really nice going back to working with an embroidery hoop and working in 2D rather than working on a 3D object. It has made me think about returning to the hoop but I think I'm happy with what I'm working on currently. Perhaps later in the unit or perhaps for degree show experiments I might return to the hoop, perhaps on large scale rather than small scale and play around with fabrics and patterns.

For the piece I made during the workshop, I decided to incorporate different fabrics as well as motifs which were already printed out for us and including embroidered text. I liked the patchwork look that I ended up with and I think I definitely want to continue this in my own work. I have been looking at Miriam Schapiro's fabric pieces and I am interested in experimenting with fabric collage, so the use of the hoop and embroidery may work well with this idea.

I also really liked the delicacy and silky nature of the fabrics that I chose. I felt that these could represent the beauty and grace of women, as well as showing the strength and resilience of women as it's being stabbed around the edges by a needle and thread. I purposefully chose certain motifs to the piece that I felt complimented the fabrics as well as complimenting my message behind my piece. The only piece of embroidered text that I added was a line that said 'Love Yourself' as the main focus of the stitch workshop was self-love and in a way self-reflection.

I did think that this workshop helped my to see the importance of group activities within Craftivism and the use of textile crafts. There's something relaxing and calming about stitching in a group and listening to stories from others around you and allowing those words to help inform your own work. I do hope to take part in more of these workshops and perhaps to maybe organise my own within the society, and perhaps outside of the society, as a research tool to see how people would react to such an activity.

I do think I could have been a little more creative with my ideas, however I was just basing my ideas on the materials I had in front of me. Which I think could be an interesting way of working. Gathering a set of materials and forcing myself to create a piece from those materials. I think for this to be an effective idea I would need to collect different fabrics of different colours, patterns and materials. But this is definitely a potential idea for generating quick pieces and ideas.

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