Sunday, 17 July 2016

What's the difference?

One of the big technical differences between surgeons and textile artists is working at depth which means holding the needle with needle-holders....


not these.........

so the first thing to get used to is the feeling of sewing with cutlery!!

Friday, 15 July 2016


 This was my first introduction (1.5.14) to working with surgeons;
         Imagine you had to sew like this ! I had a go last Saturday and it isn't easy, especially as I was sewing real skin....well pig bowel to be precise. I was part of a an interactive discussion with a group of surgeons and craftspeople brought together by Professor Roger Kneebone. We talked needles, one-handed knots, stitching in the round and what the body smells like inside....not a lot apparently. Embroiderers and surgeons face common technique challenges and some not so common, my material is not slippery and alive and they don't have to worry about what their sewing  looks like. 
      When sewing in a circle either on a hoop stand or attaching a cornea we all have to struggle to turn ourselves and not the 'work'.Some of our needles are the same..'leather' needles are also 'cutting' needles and we all use squissors. Your insides are often stitched with two slip knots and an overhand knot to secure which gives flexibility to a join .I may request a faggot stitch in future !!!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Thinking With Your Hands

 I am a lacemaker and embroiderer, often both together as much of my work is stumpwork or 3d embroidery. This is all usually posted on my main blog The Glass Pingle. This blog is to document my work as artist in residence at Imperial College London where I am working with the vascular surgery deparrtment.
  The reason? The short film above explains the thinking but I have been working with Prof. Roger Kneebone now for a couple of years and it is from the sessions held at The Art Workers' Guild with his team that this collaboration was born. It has its' roots way back in the early 1900's with a surgeon called Alexis Carrel who had learnt embroidery and lacemaking from his mother and her friends. This inspired him to develop the techniques of vascular surgery which are still in use now. In short, he worked out how to save limbs from amputation.So... I was introduced to a vascular surgeon and our understanding of each others craft was immediate!
   The aim of this project is to see how we can illuminate each others work so I will be teaching trainee and fully qualified surgeons how to embroider and make lace and they will be showing me what they do! That is a very simple outline of what is a very thorough examination of what very experienced craftspeople from very different areas can learn from each other.
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