Sketching Through Stitch

Elsa Searle Vincent

Elsa talks us through the inspiration she gets from drawing which she then translates in to embroidery and her final collection.

“The project explores my love of drawing and stitch. Drawing serves as a foundation for my embroidery. The work demonstrates the flexibility and inquisitiveness with materials that can translate those initial marks into extraordinary embellishment. Using stitch to draw, my outcomes can be experimental, subversive, and challenging. I am not afraid to push boundaries with my fluid embroidery and drawing style and juxtaposition of different fabrics.

My final Major Project, ‘Sketching Through Stitch’, is a fashion project as well as a textile art project as I have used the garment as a canvas for the embroidery. I like to think of my collection as wearable art pieces, made for catwalk and gallery spaces.

Mark making is a key part of my process as this informs the inspiration that creates the basis for my unique style. Embracing individuality and eccentricity, I draw people with unique characteristics and those who stand out from the crowd. Whether it be my peers or icons; the face is used as a base for my drawings so I can accentuate certain features to a surreal level, using mark-making to create my bold designs.

I translate drawings into embroidery using a range of materials of varying density to convey the lines. The source drawings greatly influence the materials and techniques I pick. I use techniques that produce linear marks, can be manipulated, such as, tambour chain stitch and couching that both have very individual outcomes. Industrial fabrics are used as a base for the designs. The collection consists of three dresses that serves as a canvas for the embroidery.

Following graduation, I am planning to move back to my home town and to find a small part-time job but I want to continue working on my portfolio as I plan to apply for a MA at the Royal College of Art, specialising in Textiles.

My “Top Tip” for future students is to be experimental, do not be afraid to try something different especially if you are unsure on how to do it! Read a book or ask!


You can follow Elsa on her Instagram page.


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