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  • Writer's pictureMadeleina Kay

Thinking Through Stitching Workshop

On Friday 1st December 2023, I participated in Sukhwinder Sagoo-Reddy's workshop 'Thinking Through Stitching at London Communication College.

At the start of the workshop we watched a film about the history of stitching in India, which was fascinating. We learnt about how women would stitch together old rags or embroider scraps of fabric to breathe new life into a garment. The decription of the Kantha stitch as 'making whole that which is fragmented' really resonated with me.

We practiced different types of stitches on hesian, which is a very heavy duty, stiff fabric. I particularly enjoyed learning the darning stitch (bottom left corner), we also practiced running stitch in different lengths (dashes and dots) and giving a stitch direction.

We then attempted a build, experimenting with different colour threads and stitches - which related to our research project. My research project is exploring the topic of intersectional identities and I am planning to create bespoke flags for my research participants who have a complex identity that can't easily be represented by traditional, collective flags. The material we used for this build was a much finer fabric, which required a circular frame to hold it taught, even then their was some wrinkling in the fabric caused by the stitches. I used 3 threads (instead of 6 with the hessian) and freestyled the design rather, which didn't turn out quite as I had hoped - to me it seemed naïve in style. The design was based on my Brexiles portrait of a LGBTQ+ woman who asked to be painted in the colours of the pride flag - which I used in this textiles piece. It was very time consuming to make especially as I was constantly switching between different colours. Attending this workshop has improved my knowledge of stitching and the opportunities for creating textiles builds, however, it's also made me aware of how time consuming embroidery will be if I choose to pursue this option in my research project.

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