• The Disruptive Designer

Windermere Tapestry BOX 13


The members of the Sheffield Embroiders Guild selected their boxes at random, not knowing the location or contents of the boxes. The remaining 2 boxes are the ones I would be allocated to tackle. Once the ladies had selected their boxes and looked at the content, I did give them the option to swap with each other or swap with myself. It was very important to me that each member was happy with their challenge as I wanted them to enjoy the experience and put the effort in producing a wonderful sample.

I ended up with boxes 13 (Rawcliffe leisure) and box 25 (Ambleside).

Rawcliffe leisure was a swapped box with a member who was not comfortable translating the interior images with the rubbish and preferred a more natural theme. Fortunately the box I was left with had a mixture of water, flowers and animals and made her happy.

Interpreting box 13, mixing the rubbish and the images to create a composition was difficult and I decided to mix elements of the interior of the room with the curved aspects of the plastic bottle. One image in particular proved very useful as the bed cover had a curved element as the sheet fell off the sides of the bed. I replaced the straight linear geometry with the more curved geometrics of the bottle and applied a grey and light blue colour palette. The remaining areas of the template took inspiration from the sharp angles of the room structure and the colours of the decor, mixing elements to form abstract geometric patterns. To ensure there was still an element of "hotel room" and recognisable features, I bought in the luxurious bath tub as a main focal point. For this piece I chose to keep a higher percentage of the embroidered piece fully filled and to only break specific elements in order to bring in my particular signature style. I opted to removed the jump threads to give a cleaner aesthetic.

My process for design:

1 - Study the images for areas of interest - usually I spread them out in a large area and use a a pen to highlight key elements.

2 - Use tracing paper to trace linear elements - this may involve overlaying and interpretation of...

3 - Mount template onto a larger mount board, leaving space all around.

4 - Stick key images to mount board.

5 - Draft composition to template - or place tracing paper over template and compose.

6 - Once happy take a photo of the draft and import to Adobe Illustrator

7 - CAD a refine design idea - applying contrasting colour blocks to shapes - this ensures the embroidery software can pick up each element easily.

8 - Save as JPEG and import to embroidery software.

9 - convert the jpeg vectors into stitches - either automatically or manually.

10 - Export to Embrid to split into manageable sized sections for the machine.

11 - Transfer the sections to the embroidery machine.

12 - When embroidering - use the mount board to make notes regarding stitching, colour codes, ideas....

13 - Manipulate the machine spontaneously during production to create visual interest.

Outcome //

I am very pleased with the outcome of this section overall. The piece took 8 hoopings and between 30-40 hours to embroider. I devised a methodology to allow easier alignment and I would like to think its very difficult for the average viewer to see where the hooping joins are on the finished piece. The overall shape ended up 1 cm smaller in width than the template, and some of this was down to overlapping too much on join lines and I suspect pull compensation. Although backing was underlays were used I suspect I need to allow more for this within the design. To overcome this, I extended the design itself by adding to the either side of the composition, designing extensions to fit the original composition. The height of the piece did not change. My current software program does not allow for manual alteration of pull compensation and therefore I will make the next piece a fraction wide to compensate for this. If need be the extra can be overlapped by the a joining sections when all joined together.