Thursday, February 22, 2018

Sewing Machine Abuse and How to Stitch in Thin Air

A 3-Day Workshop 
On Saltspring Island, British Columbia
With Karin Millson
This course is suitable for all skill levels

When: April  27, 28 and 29th
Where:  Mahon Hall
Time: 10 – 4  (1 hour lunch break)
Cost: $290 + Booking fees
Materials List will be supplied

Maximum class-size 12

Examples of what you will learn
Have you ever thought :
“How do I get this sewing machine to sew how I want it to?” 
or even, 
“How can a sewing machine sew in space?”

Sign up for this workshop with Karin, and you will learn how to do these things and more. Karin likes to challenge the instruction manual.  She will teach you the rules and then how to wilfully break them.
Judicious use of sewing machine needle types allows challenging threads can be worked concurrently.  Here thick DMC crochet cotton with fine metallic machine hread

Join Karin and you will be able to make your machine stitch in ways you didn't know were possible, with threads that you would have thought were of no use to a sewing machine and on surfaces that one doesn't naturally think of as sewing machine fabric.  You will use the machine as an art tool.
Machine stitching on multiple layers of ironed bubblewrap

One participant’s partner remarked “Honey, I think there is something wrong with your sewing machine” after he was surprised by the textural stitches that had been produced during the class.  

In fact there was nothing wrong with the machine and the course participant was able to make adjustments, at will, to create flat stitches, even stitches and looped stitches in patterns and shapes that were not even in the instruction manual and she could even make stitches in thin air.
And so she had learnt how a sewing machine sews in space.

During the workshop you will also be encouraged to make marks on white fabric in an innovative and non-intimidating way:-
-: and then mimic those shapes, lines and visual textures with the new stitch techniques that you learn.
Black, white and silver drawing, mimicked in varied machine stitchery on organza, paper and metal
with some machining in free space

Do I need to bring my sewing machine? 
Since this class is based heavily on the use of a sewing machine, participants need to bring a machine that is suitable (see below)
Karin has 2 such machines available for use in the class.  Email her at to book one.

Exploiting the possibility of changing tension settings to create looping and dotted stitches

Can my machine do this?

If your machine can do the following it will be suitable, I will teach the less experienced how to do these things:-
The type of machine that is optimum (though others are suitable) for the studies is a basic, mechanical, sewing machine.  The ability to do zig zag, free motion, vary both stitch length and width at will and easily adjust top and bottom tensions (a vertically loaded lower bobbin is usually the best, but other machines can be accommodated) are required.  If you are new to free motion stitching, please contact me (details below).  Even a machine that you think cannot do free motion can usually be given a disguise to make this possible.
There is no need for numerous fancy stitches.
·      The machines will be worked in free motion setting for some of the class.  A suitable foot should be brought to class, or a modification might be possible Karin is happy to discuss this. Karin has several free motion feet for Bernina and Pfaff machines for class use, contact her to book one.
Do I need any previous experience?
Certainly not.
For any other questions contact Karin at to arrange for a chat

Karin is the recipient of a 2018 Saltspring Island Arts Council Grant.

She will bring elements of her current work on an adult puppet show to the workshop to help demonstrate the usefulness of the techniques learnt.
Skeletal creature - machine embroidery in space
Machine embroidery on waxed paper.
Register for the workshop here:-  Follow the instructions to obtain your ticket.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Gone Live

I have just gone live on the Saltspring Arts Council website. Here
And here is a taste:-
Fish Fence Canmore
Karin Millson
Photography Manipulation Image floated on aluminium

Not new work but good to see it again - me thinks!
There are 6 more images on the Arts Council Website

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


This post carries a Parental Guidance Warning.
My latest artwork will go to the gallery tomorrow for display from Friday.
Be at the opening if you can, see previous post for details.

Karin Millson  2018
wood, silk, threads, leather

After “Treasures Hidden in our Pockets: An Easy-to-Understand Sex Guide for Obedient Wives” by Keisai Eisen, mid 1830s  - early 1840s.

Original drawings in public domain in country of origin and where copyright is author’s life plus 100 years or less. {{PD – Japan}} {{PD – Canada}} {{PD -1923}

Ribbon-Rope-Chain is a scroll that the viewer turns to reveal the imagery of the artwork.
It is a 2” thick piece of live-edged wood - beautifully finished/polished etc.
On which are supported two scroll holders.  There is another block of lovely wood over which the parchment is supported.
Wrapped onto the scroll holders is a ‘parchment’ = silk fabric on which I have embroidered the (short) title of the work and accreditation and 5 images from 'guidelines for the obedient wife'.
They are taken from 18th Century Japanese woodcuts by Keisai Eisen, entitled Treasures Hidden in our Pockets: An Easy-to-Understand Sex Guide for Obedient Wives. (The latter information will appear on the label, on the plinth in the gallery).

I have varied thread-thickness to give the character of the line some of my own, subtle, commentary. Also the expressions on the man and woman's faces and their fingers and toes are my own, sometimes comical, stitchery.
I am hoping that Ribbon-Rope-Chain will stimulate some discussion when thinking of The Edo Period's "Floating World" philosophies and  also the current Me Too Movement.