I had never seen a textiles workshop before. I had always worked on my domestic Janome sewing machine, ramming far too big quilts through her small but patient body.
My masters degree was a liberation. Sue, the head of the workshop both chided and guided me as I found new ways of making work.
I fell deeper in love with quilt making, whilst finding new joys and deep pleasure in learning digital embroidery.
I learnt to play with stitches in the digital space of ethos software, and watch my designs thud out in polyester thread on the brother industrial digital embroidery machines. I got to know their grey weight and bright blue screen, the rows of needles – threads snaking up the face gathering tension as they go.
My quilts finally had room to breathe stretched out on the handi quilter infinity- the layers bound between two rollers, pulled taught so that the body of the machine can sweep across the surface. It too can follow digital instructions: moving autonomously, purposefully across the quilt: like a ghost in the machine
My impulse is toward fabric, toward its manipulation and embellishment, and it runs deep within me. The needle calls to my fingers, and the thread to my lips. The tension of the bobbin hangs in my gut. The din of the machine stitch haunts my ears. The burring vibration of the machine is in my bones. My orientation is toward softness but my allegiance is to the machine.
Watching the horizon approach of the end of my masters degree I knew I could not leave the machines. I applied for a practice-based PhD to stay stitching in the workshop of dreams. I managed to find funding and began in 2018 under the guidance of the incredible artist Alice Kettle.