"I have always loved drawing especially with my younger pals. I usually buy a new pack of felt tips before I visit friends as there is nothing quite like replacing the ones that have lost their tops then losing yourself in a coloured mishmash of shapes and lines. Brandishing a new pack of pens ensures happy smiles and excitement. This therapeutic entertainment can last for hours, can be done anywhere and is extremely sociable. I think it is important to observe children's instinctive creativity and to be inspired by their natural bravado! Everybody loves a good doodle. Doodling is good for you.
I am a big fan of black biros, soft pencils and marker pens. I am the very proud owner of a proper desk-mounted pencil sharpener which was my favourite birthday present this year. Having a selection of good drawing equipment around me makes me happy and I love black fine liner pens more than cake.
BUT of course dear readers I am sure you can guess the Daddy of all tools in my life! It is of course my supersonic stitching machine or 'Aston Martin' as I like to call it. (I am hoping that if I keep on mentioning Aston Martin they might, just might, one day give me sponsorship). Some may fail to see why a sewing machine is cool and I must admit, I sometimes sit there threading the needle for the umpteenth time, eyes askew, wondering what on earth I am doing. However! As we all know, it's what you do with it that counts.
All tools have their own special qualities and sometimes when faced with the blank page or canvas its good to get back to basics and look at things as if just visiting from another planet. What actually is this? What does it do? How does it do it? See things in a new light. SO, I think of my sewing machine as a large pen, fantastic for doodling and drawing.
My sewing machine isn't fancy but it is new. Like opening a new pack of felt tips I felt a surge of excitement and relief when I opened the box. The promise of a smoother ride and the potential of this clean mean sewing machine shone before me. Its the 4th Bernina 1008 in my collection. None of them have fancy buttons and knobs and certainly no beeps. I see my sewing machine as a mechanical drawing machine with an accelerator and a needle which punches three dimensional lines of ink in and out of cloth. Its a means of drawing with a wonderful textural quality. I never make clothes, curtains or really anything utilitarian with this tool. It is an extension of my creative self, I am the final attachment that makes it work. It is hopeless without me! I am its master! Oh yes!
Like with a felt tip, a piece of graphite or a marker pen, different tools can make different marks. Everything has its own personality and when combined with a 'human being', well, the sky is the limit. We are talking individual creativity here, we are talking about self-expression, having an emotional outlet through your materials. Getting back to basic mark making, the beginning of all creativity.
How many marks you can make with a felt tip, a biro, a graphite stick? Imagine marks like these - spiky, curvy, soft, dotty, whispy, fluffy, dark, gentle, long, angry, short, gritty, smooth, sexy; the list is endless, there are thousands of marks in you! Just as with a felt tip, theres no reason why you cant attempt to celebrate lines and marks with a sewing machine. Down with the fancy stitches on the menu! Get the music on, the sherry out and go for it. Try to free your mind of imagery, planning, flowers and hearts. Use your emotional self to drive the machine and your intuition to spontaneously sew onto the canvas with no planning. Give the pedal some welly and take some stitches for a walk, for a trot and for a dance.
Lets face it we all love going out and buying new equipment, threads and fabrics and I know many people develop an addiction to buying crafty stuff. It is important to have the right tool to do the job properly and occasionally treat yourself to a pack of spanking new pens. Once you have sorted the basic tools, had a tidy up and cleared the decks of STUFF remember that YOU and your inner child are the magic ingredient of creativity. Your sewing machine is just the tool by which you express yourself. Create as many different textures as you can and enjoy yourself. Get to know your sewing machine again, look him firmly in the eye and repeat after me ...
'I AM YOUR MASTER!'