Embroidery has never been much part of my life or art. I remember having to do small samplers at school, and a short row could take me weeks. The teachers always remarked on my untidiness – in embroidery, drawing and handwriting.
My ‘hand’ work has always been mediated by machines. I learnt to touch-type at age 13 and never looked back. Typewriters of all sorts – evolving with the times – and then computers, since the 1980s, have been my means of writing.
Photography, another of my loves, has involved more and more sophisticated cameras - starting from my mother's little bellows camera - and later, playing with Photoshop. I do not draw or paint. I have read all the ‘right’ books on drawing, and given it a go – even attending drawing courses - as it seems to be the way of art, but have never been able to sustain it for long.
Sewing machines started to be part of my life around age 7. But even today, hand-stitching quilt bindings and sleeves is a chore – I’m constantly pricking my fingers and drawing drops of blood, which I have to be really careful not to let fall on the quilt. I usually end up with one or more plasters round my fingers.
So this embroidery challenge is really that – a big challenge. I cannot see myself hand-embroidering, so it will have to be machine embroidery. My sewing machine has a really wide range of fancy stitches, which I rarely use, so that’s my challenge – getting familiar with that little used side of my machine, and incorporate some of the embroidery stitches in my piece.