Sue Lancaster South Yorkshire, United Kingdom
I am a textile artist using machine embroidery as my main medium. I work in my studio in Sheffield called 'Stitched Up and Fleeced'. I trained at Bolton Art College Foundation Course 1971-2 , Loughborough College of Art and Design Degree in Stitched Textiles 1975, PGCE Art and Design at Leicester 1976, Member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen since 1996 and awarded a Fellowship in 2013.
I work from observation of landscape, including close detail, and the sea. I start very realistically and as I develop the subject matter I become captivated by some aspect which becomes dominant, stylised. I like to say 'extracted' rather than 'abstract'. My work is always about colour. I may dye or print or assemble the fabric onto which I will draw with the sewing machine. The thread colour is essential to the effect of the composition and will often alter the ground colouring considerably. I often extract pattern from my observations and proceed to recreate these using a variety of machine embroidery techniques. I use straight stitch and zigzag on both a normal scale sewing machine and a specialist 'Irish' embroidery machine. The latter zigzag width is half an inch. I manipulate the width of the zigzag, the size of the stitch and the direction of the stitch to create different marks and surfaces by moving the fabric in all directions. Painters may associate this with the effects attainable by brush work in acrylics or oils. The resulting fabrics may be heavy, particularly if worked on canvas, or light if I have worked on a soluble fabric. So the work may result in framed wall pieces or hangings or sometimes develop into functional items such as book covers and bags or soft furnishings. I aim to produce high quality, original work which is 'fit for purpose'.