In Stitches

Digital embroidery is an amazing tool in the hands of any artist or designer. If you are a painter, have a drawing based practice or love exploring dimensional surfaces, digital embroidery takes all that know-how about color, form, volume and line and collapses it into a kind of image production that is the perfect marriage between material and technology.

Screenshot of PE-Design Next embroidery software

So what is digital embroidery? Simply stated it is the translation of an image into a stitch path of colored thread that is similar to concepts in printmaking or the layers we work with in Illustrator or Photoshop. It builds an image or connection of lines by color layers. 

So what's the process? Take an image or drawing, bring into a program like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, export the file and import into a digitizing embroidery software program  make some adjustments and export the machine file format to a USB or send directly to the machine. Of course, this is an oversimplification of the process but it is integral to understand a stitch point and the tool path of the machine as it builds the image, blending colors.

The squares above represent points of entry by the needle.

The magic is in the blending of colors and using the machine as a tool instead of a printer among other considerations. The same way one mixes paint on a palette, digital embroidery can build a composition of complex colors or simple line. From a sculptural point of view, the possibility to build texture and volume, the dimensionality of the thread as a material becomes an inspiring starting point.

Image of a stitch out of one of Digital Fabrication Resident Siena Baldi's projects

The Digital Fabrication Residency Digital Embroidery Intro workshop also covers all the experimental materials that can be digitally embroidered and there is a world of possibilities!

b&white embroidery.jpg

More to come on digital embroidery (of course!) Also, check out Digital Fabrication Resident Siena Baldi's blog post on our digital embroidery workshop: mitchcollective.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/digital-fabrication-residency-part-3