Workshop: Cas Holmes


Today I attended a full day course with Cas Holmes (and was excited to unexpectedly meet up with fellow OCA student Julie): ‘The Sketchbook Workshop’

I won’t detail Cas’ process for the workshop here, in order to respect the integrity of her course and to protect her process. That will all be in my sketchbook.

However, I am most excited to have taken a piece of paper from plain, to something on which marks were made, outdoor sketching was applied and dyes and stains treated to this base.

How it was appearing before lunch and stitching:


After assembling pieces which included a segment from our partner (thank you Julie) we were encouraged to sketch on to the work with the sewing machine. I have never done free embroidery before and if I thought I was before no wonder I kept jamming the machine. Important rules:  1) feed down, 2) special foot applied…might help me become more fluid with the writing Edith! After some time exploring this, Cas suggested filling the spool with the red no5 cotton I had brought yet retaining the standard machine thread from the top of the machine. I am very excited with the potential of this. I now know where I can take the prints in my ‘Not All Wounds are Visible’ series. It opens many doors.

The bottom images shows me deliberating between the final layout.  When I got home and had some distance from the work I have settled on the right hand side – without the printed lace. It felt more…more less if that makes sense. This is a sketchbook process – not a finished piece assembly. Taking the lace corner off removed the ‘corners’ and offered more planes by which this ‘book’ could be extended as resources and time allow.

Portable process and inspiration.

1 immediately usable tip I did learn today: a jam jar to hold the large cone of machine thread I have been unable to use, so I can use it on my machine.

What have I learnt? That to memorize the drawing by sketching first, my muscles hold the memory; my skin holds the feeling. When I transfer this to machine stitching I move from a much smaller hand and wrist gesture to a whole arm and shoulder repetition of the movement. It might be interesting to explore how the music sketches translate into free machine embroidery. Now, I can have a go at the asemic writing too (using tracing paper or greaseproof paper as first if I wish to imitate a design, later omitting this as I gain control.)

A super day. Thank you Cas.

Went via Barnardo’s: 2 more tops! This time pure cotton to explore: one black, one cream – even if the image on the right would suggest it is grey – least this picks up the details of the blouse.




3 thoughts on “Workshop: Cas Holmes

  1. What a feast of textures and marks! The workshop looks and sounds like a very inspirational day. An useful tip regarding remembering the feeling of drawing and translating that to the machine sewn stitching.

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