Back in February 2021 during the darkest, coldest month of the year and yet another ‘stay at home’ lockdown in place, a group called ‘In Stitches’ was established.
Artist Laura Lees and a growing band of sewers met up in the virtual realm. Using smart phones and online video platforms the group were supported by Anne Elliot and Patrick O’Growney from Artlink.
Most of the participants have been involved with Artlink for many years through different projects. Although this was a new way of working together, everyone took to it with enthusiasm as they not only learnt new techniques but could talk and share within the group. Believe me when I say WhatsApp chat and images were pinging left, right and centre!
Here’s a couple of quotes from the group:
“Great; it’s the human interaction that counts. I‘ve enjoyed each project and working with others to see their interpretation and creations, as well as sharing ideas.” Dorothy
“Well, I thought it wouldn’t work at first, but as a tutor I think it is brilliant! The ability to demonstrate direction with the aid of mark-up tool and video demonstrations, it’s been most rewarding.
Seeing the progression has been wonderful; the growth of confidence and technical abilities has been so rewarding. Everyone has taken on board the advice given and let their imagination take them places that far exceed their initial expectations. This level of success has been achieved by the warmth and supportive nature that this group demonstrates towards each other. Everyone feels secure in their embroidery and artistic abilities to share their thoughts, ideas and enthusiasm for each other’s work. The result; a joyous experience.
Looking forward to more embroidery.” Laura Lees, Workshop lead
The project isn’t finished yet which means that not all the works are complete, but we love what they are creating so much, we want to share them with you.
In the slideshow you can see a variety of works developed during the project. We will also be posting progression photos from some of the works illustrated so you can see how works have been built up; keep an eye out for those.
Finally, you can see more of the brilliant Laura Lees’ work on her website at: Laura-Lees.com.
In Stitches: Anna Becker Teapot and Cup
May 5th 2021
For this piece Anna took inspiration from the things around her, things that most people have like a teapot and a mug. We love the finished cushion, and it shows how everyday objects spark joy! Anna said,
“I was really not sure when I started this. It wasn’t something I would normally have thought of doing but I found myself enjoying making new stitches although I was never sure how it would turn out. It’s not perfect, but I quite like the finished product.”
In Stitches: Anna Becker – Kilimanjaro
May 26th 2021
Anna is currently working on a piece inspired by Kilmanjaro. It’s not finished yet but you can see how its progressing and we will upload images of all the finished pieces at the end of the project. From a humble teapot to a vast landscape!
In Stitches: Dorothy – Owl
May 28th 2021
Is Dorothy a wise old owl? we think so, though she may dispute the old part of that! We love the character Dorothy has managed to capture in the Owl. HOOT HOOT HOORAY! Dorothy says, “I have an affinity with owls and elephants for some reason!”
In Stitches: Dorothy – Bass Rock
Dorothy is currently working on a new piece which is inspired by a painting she has of the Bass Rock. We love how she is capturing the monumental form of the rock itself. Dorothy says, “The Bass Rock is inspired by childhood memories of holidays and weekends spent in a caravan at North Berwick. I feel grateful for the knowledge I’ve received on different techniques and the sharing of ideas. It has been great via Zoom to receive weekly updates.”
In Stitches: Yvonne – Ode to Frida
June 9th 2021
Who would have thought birds and skulls go together? We do now! We love Yvonne’s creative use of stitches and colour. And where did she get those headphones?!
Yvonne says, “This is an ode to Frida (Kahlo). My inspiration was Mexico and the Day of the Dead. I love Frida Kahlo and the bright colours … appliqué is a craft I haven’t done before, so I find the group is teaching me new skills and I love seeing it come together.”
In Stitches: Anne Elliot – Meg
August 18th 2021
Anne has lovingly captured her Mum’s dog Meg in this beautiful piece. As Franklin Jones said ‘Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job’!
Anne says ‘’Thanks to lockdown and Laura Lees this was my first venture in sewing for 3 decades. I was surprised and encouraged by this perfect tonic to lockdown. Homemade size 12 dresses have been replaced by a pictorial interpretation of my favourite family dog Meg, using freestyle stitching. I was trying to draw with thread and fabric, enjoying the textures and working with limited resources at home. For a change I can be the one to say, I have not done this since school!’’
In Stitches: Anne Elliot – Forest
August 25th 2021
Anne is currently working on this forest piece and was inspired by a David Hockney painting. We think that Anne can definitely see the woods for the trees!
Anne says, ‘’The Hockney landscape paintings are vast in size and on viewing them I felt drenched in colour. They have had a lasting impact on me. It has been a challenge to break away from the original Hockney – I found myself being slavishly true to the original. I really enjoyed being unleashed with colour after monochrome Meg. Working with embroidery threads for the first time made my stitches much smaller and tighter than the wool used in creating Meg. Working in tandem with others through the ‘In Stitches’ group kept me going with this project which so easily could have joined all the other unfinished garments from decades ago.’’
In Stitches: Grace – Cat
September 1st 2021
And to keep the bad puns going we think this cat by Grace is just PURRRRFECT!
Artlink partner in delivering the Tonic Arts Participatory Programme on behalf of the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation.