Linda Miller: Captured in stitch
Artist Linda Miller creates happy and humorous machine embroideries using an industrial Bernina 950 sewing machine. She works from the Colour Factory Studios and Gallery in Winchester and has exhibited across the UK, Europe and the USA. Linda has pieces in the Southern Arts collection and in the permanent textile and dress collection at the V&A museum.
In our interview with Linda we talk about her love of storytelling through stitch and her dislike of copies and ‘jumping on the bandwagon’.
Storytelling and history
What initially captured your imagination about textile art?
I have always made things, ever since I can remember; sewing has always been a passion. I was never aware of textile art.
What or who were your early influences and how has your life/upbringing influenced your work?
When I was very young I saw printed pictures of the Bayeux Tapestry and was very inspired that pictures could be made in stitch, I was born and raised in Hastings and the Bayeux Tapestry seemed to be important to me, storytelling, history, and all captured in stitch.
What was your route to becoming an artist? (Formal training or another pathway?)
Foundation Pre BA – Hastings 1981-1982
Degree Printed Textiles Winchester School of Art 1985-1988
What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?
Machine Embroidery, sewing onto a heavy weight cotton using viscose, cotton, silk and metallic threads.
Naïve and humorous
How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary art?
I make rich, colourful, naïve and humorous embroideries which contain figures set in the out-doors, always smiling and usually depicted within a story. Recently I have been including animals and birds in my pieces.
Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?
I work in my studio almost every day; it’s a shared studio away from home, situated on the edge of a park in Winchester, Hampshire. I like working with other makers and I also like working on my own too, I am very lucky to work in a shared studio with other busy artists in a creative environment. I can choose the hours in which I work in my studio to suit me, I love my time at home and I love my time at the studio, I love that in my studio I never have to tidy things away until I’ve finished what I’m making.
Do you use a sketchbook?
No, I draw onto big pieces of cartridge paper. I have never enjoyed working in a sketch book, I have always found them very restrictive and I don’t like the feeling of them being compulsorily!
What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?
I don’t have any favourite artists or makers, I like a lot of work and I dislike a lot of work too. I like seeing new and well thought out pieces which are original and well made, I don’t like copies, badly made things and jumping on the current band wagon!
Enjoy what you do
Tell us about a piece of work you have fond memories of and why?
It’s always the last piece I made.
How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?
My work always looks much slicker and better finished off than when I first started making 25 years ago.
What advice would you give to an aspiring textile artist?
Take it all slowly and enjoy what you do. Don’t agree to do anything you don’t want to.
Can you recommend 3 or 4 books for textile artists?
Anything that inspires you and is informative. I wrote a book which was well received called: “Creative Machine Embroidery” was commissioned and published in 2010 by A&C Black.
What other resources do you use? Blogs, websites, magazines etc.
Yes all, but mainly what I see on a day to day level, the world around me and the changing light and seasons.
What piece of equipment or tool could you not live without?
Do you give talks or run workshops or classes? If so where can readers find information about these?
Yes I do, I give a lot of talks and workshops to regional groups of the embroiderer’s guild and stitch groups, workshops, classes, events and talks are always listed on my website. www.lindamillerembroideries.co.uk
How do you go about choosing where to show your work?
I work with galleries and events that I feel my work would fit into.
Where can readers see your work this year?
The Contemporary Craft Festival
Mill Marsh Park, Bovey Tracey, Devon
Cornwall Design Fair
Friday 15 to Sunday 17 August 2014
Trereife House, Newlyn, Penzance, TR20 8TJ
Festival of Crafts
Farnham Maltings Farnham Surrey
For more information on Linda Miller please visit: www.lindamillerembroideries.co.uk
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