About Me

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Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
Jean Cockburn retired from her professional career as an academic librarian in 2008 to become a textile artist living on Denman Island, British Columbia. She draws, quilts, embroiders, knits and crochets, makes wearable art, weaves baskets, dyes fabric, and paints watercolours. Her work has been exhibited locally in juried and group shows on Denman Island, in Courtenay, Comox, and Duncan on Vancouver Island, in West Vancouver, and across Canada with the Surface Design Association.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Machine embroidery: Winter Wren Wood

I went for a walk a couple of weeks ago in Winter Wren Wood and took some photos of old moss covered cedar rail fences with Douglas Fir trees in the background.

I used this photo to create a machine embroidery. In the making process I learned lots of lessons along the way.

I started with raw 7 ounce unstretched painting canvas that I painted with very diluted acrylic inks. The canvas shrunk visibly as it was wet with the inks, which made applying the next areas difficult. Also, I had ironed the canvas into thirds and diagonals to place my image, and unfortunately the ink settled into these areas. Lesson learned to pre-shrink the canvas, and not to iron on placement lines. I painted in sections, letting each dry overnight so that I did not get wet paint bleeding between sections.

I began machine embroidering in straight lines on the unbacked canvas. It very soon began to distort quite a lot.

Once I discovered the magic of using the machine embroidery stitches of my Bernina 1530 sewing machine, I realized that I needed a backing. I did not have any stabilizer, so I improvised by using steam-a-seam to fuse wool coating fabric to the back of the piece. This worked extremely well, and will be a technique to use again. 

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