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Embroidered Portholes: Image


Embroidered Portholes: Text

Inspired by names, words in native language, imagined or remembered scenes...

Embroidered Portholes: Text

Workshop Description

Participants will be given a piece of fabric stretched over an embroidery circle; this will be decorated using stitching and other media. 

Embroidered Portholes: Text

Workshop Aims

1. Each participant will aim to decorate a circle of fabric, creating a series of ‘portholes’ or ‘bubbles’ that offer a window into their interests, language or world. 

2. To learn basic stitching and use creatively alongside other materials  

Embroidered Portholes: Text

Workshop Activities 

1. Stretch pieces of fabric across embroidery hoops and give one to each participant. Ask them to come up with a simple shape or word to lightly sketch onto the fabric. 

2. Demonstrate threading a needle and some very simple stitches, such as a running stitch to create a dotted line. These can be practiced by going over the pencil lines. The stitching does not have to be perfectly neat and can be used creatively, using a range of coloured threads. 

3. Introduce other materials that can be added to the artwork if wanted. Paints can be used to fill in the stitched shapes and pens or other materials can be used to add extra lines and details. 

4. Put all of the circles together on a wall to see the range of techniques and influences that inspired them.

Embroidered Portholes: Text

Materials Required

  • fabric 

  • embroidery hoops 

  • range of coloured embroidery thread thick enough to stand out 

  • embroidery needles, with large enough holes to easily thread 

  • paints 

  • marker pens 

  • any other materials  

Embroidered Portholes: Text

We did this activity with a group of young men, many of whom had never had a go at sewing before. We included acrylic paints and marker pens to take the pressure off filling the whole piece with only stitching. Some did a small amount of stitching and mostly used paints or pens, others found it relaxing to spend the whole session stitching.  


The use of embroidery hoops makes holding the fabric easier and is also a way of displaying a range of very different materials and themes in a uniform way. However this could be done on simple pieces of fabric without the circle. If using the hoop make sure the fabric is well stretched across it and the screws are tight. Leave some of the fabric hanging over the edge so that it can be re-tightened easily before trimming for final display, as the fabric tends to become baggy and loose whilst being worked on. 

Embroidered Portholes: Text
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