Sarah Symes: Tool kit

Sarah Symes: Tool kit

Welcome to another edition of Tool kit, a series of articles where we take a look at some of the favourite tools used by professional textile artists.

Sarah Symes has had a passion for making art with fabric from a young age. She studied architecture at the prestigious University College London, before training and working as a graphic designer. Having lived in many places including London, Los Angeles and San Francisco Sarah finally found her way home to a mountain town called Squamish just outside of Vancouver, Canada.

Her artwork has been exhibited in the USA, Canada and Europe. Sarah has also been interviewed by a number of magazines and newspapers and featured by some of the top influencers on the design scene. Most notable achievements include being awarded the Best of Show prize by the Los Angeles Art Association in 2007 and selected for the Squamish Street Banners in 2016. Her work hangs in private collections worldwide.

In this article, Sarah tells us which tools are essential to her everyday practice. She explains why she chooses a particular brand and the part they play in creating her artwork.

Black and Decker Classic Iron

Black and Decker Classic Iron

Item 1 – Iron

Brand: Black & Decker
Model: The Classic Iron
Year: 2007

How do you use this item in your practice?

When I enter my studio, the first thing I do is turn on my iron. I fill it with water and set it to MAX and leave it on all day.

Why do you use this specific item?

I chose this iron for its classic styling and no-nonsense functionality – it only does what I need it to do. I also appreciate that it doesn’t have an auto shutoff feature and remains always on. It has a small soleplate making it easy to use and ideal for pressing small strips of fabric.

And where did you buy it from?

Sears, Santa Monica, USA.

Baby Lock Sewing Machine

Baby Lock Sewing Machine

Item 2 – Sewing Machine

Brand: Baby Lock
Model: Audrey BL67
Year: 2009

How do you use this item in your practice?

I have many sewing machines, all for different projects, but of all of them, I like this one the best and use it almost every day.

Why do you use this specific item?

It is designed to be small and lightweight for sewers on-the-go but it’s surprisingly well made and can handle most projects. I love that I can easily take it out on the deck in the summer months and work outside. I work on many different sized projects and I find this sewing machine easy to pick up and move when I reconfigure my sewing tables. It’s also easy to clean and find replacement parts.

And where did you buy it from?

Northgate Sew & Vac, San Rafael, CA, USA

Pins

Pins

Item 3 – Pins

Brand: Singer
Model: Notions Quilt Pro Quilting Pins in a Jar
Year: 2016

How do you use this item in your practice?

I get through a lot of pins! My process is intuitive and I like to pin a composition of small fabric pieces and make sure they work together before committing to thread. It saves a lot of unpicking down the line.

Why do you use this specific item?

Quilting pins are longer and stronger than dressmaking pins, making them better able to cope with thick layers of fabric often stiff with paint. The large heads are also essential to my process, as it makes them easy to handle and find.

And where did you buy it from?

Fabricland, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Fiskar Scissors

Fiskars Scissors

Item 4 – Scissors

Brand: Fiskars
Model: 8” Forged Scissors
Year: 2007

How do you use this item in your practice?

These scissors are always found on my ironing board, enabling me to press and cut at one station. I cut hundreds of pieces of fabric every week.

Why do you use this specific item?

I like this particular pair of scissors because they stay sharp, look like new after nearly 10 years of use and feel good in my hand.

And where did you buy it from?

Lincoln Fabrics, Venice, CA, USA

Arrow Staple Gun

Arrow Staple Gun

Item 5 – Staple Gun

Brand: Arrow
Model: T50 PBN
Year: 2007

How do you use this item in your practice?

To finish a piece of artwork, I stretch the fabric over a wooden frame. I use a staple gun to secure the fabric in a similar way to stretching a canvas for painting.

Why do you use this specific item?

I like this gun because it fits a range of staple sizes, has a cushioned handle and an easy squeeze mechanism. I find the fabric stretching process very demanding on my fingers and wrists and this gun helps me work for longer.

And where did you buy it from?

The Home Depot, Marina del Rey, CA, USA

For more information visit: www.sarahsymes.com

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Sunday 26th, February 2017 / 03:45
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