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Could Needlework Define Drawing?

A Quilt Block by Peony and Parakeet

Over 20 years ago, when studying computer science, control engineering, and automotive engineering, I got used to being the only girl in many lectures. But it was not only that. Whatever book I read, whatever formula I learned, it was all written by men. Soon, it felt natural. The field of technology was ruled by men.

Embroidered Heart by Peony and Parakeet

When I think about drawing, I see the same thing. Throughout the history, the skill of drawing has been defined by men. Many say that if you draw 3-dimensional and photorealistic images, you can draw.

Embroidery by Peony and Parakeet

But could needlework define the way we draw? Could we think more about textures, structures, and shapes than the actual dimensions? Could we tell stories where we travel inside rather than outside?

I don’t say men can’t do all that. My message is that too many women who are experienced quilters, seamstresses, needleworkers feel that they are far away from drawing.

Quilting by Peony and Parakeet

Why Draw?

When you hold the pen instead of the needle, you are able to experiment in much less time. With a little bit of guidance, your imagination will start to grow. You will be able to see your creativity in a new light!

My quilting and embroidery got a friend from art journaling when I began to draw.

Embroidery inspired pieces for the class "Artistic Embroidery with Pens and Paper"
Embroidery inspired pieces for the class “Artistic Embroidery with Pens and Paper”

There’s no reason why needlework could not define the way we draw. Or at least be our inspiration when we draw.

Exercises from the class Inspirational Drawing
Exercises from the class Inspirational Drawing

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15 thoughts on “Could Needlework Define Drawing?

  1. This article is so true – many of us never felt we were able to draw or paint but did a great deal of embroidering and needlepointing, knitting and crocheting, quilting and sewing – many times using our own designs. To now be inspired to translate all our former skills into drawing, painting and using various mediums is such a delightful experience.

  2. you’re soooo right about this article…..many time sewing I thought about that too…all the stitches forming some kind of design….

  3. I LOVE this post. Coming from an embroidery and quilting background, I’ve not taken that “feeling” with me into drawing. I will now be able to think on a different flight-pattern just from your words describing my broken link. I’m very excited to try doodling again. THANK YOU for your ever present thinking, thinking, and sharing.

  4. I never thought about this, but this would make the idea of drawing and designing less intimidating.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with Valerie and Mary….I have same kind of background. I’ve been doodling and painting recently but now I’m thinking of picking up my needle…it’s been years since I’ve done that. I’ve been drooling over your “Folk Leaves” quilt piece on Etsy, Paivi….I would love to try a piece like that now that I’ve taken the Inspirational Drawing class and Imagine class and see what I can create with needle and thread over my artwork. Question: How do you get the drawing design on the fabric so you can do needlework over it?

      1. Oh my goodness, Paivi….you sure keep me busy with the most fun and creative projects. Thank you so much for the information. I hope you had the best birthday ever, yesterday!!!! Until next time….
        …. all smiles over here…. 🙂

  6. Very intriguing post! Not only could the sewing be a form of drawing – also looking at fabric and drawing by relating the shapes!!! I think I will give this a shot! This sounds relaxing on the drawing side – since I can hand sew but not sew with a sewing machine!!!!!! I want to learn so badly again!!!!!! I thought it would be like riding a bike but when I looked at the sewing machine that my husband purchased for me – It looked like something out of the future!!!!! Thank you for this post Paivi!

  7. I love this Paivi & agree wholeheartedly. I have begun incorporating stitching into my mixed media art journalling & it adds a new dimension & is as expressive as I want it to be.

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