After joining the work experience team, I met the students as they entered their final day of the textiles explore stage at the Design school at Northumbria University.

Charlotte began the day by giving the group an overview of the day and recapping the first day at CCAD in Hartlepool. We then made our way along to the workroom where the students arranged themselves into pairs with a sewing machine.

They were given a demonstration on how to thread the sewing machines and fill a bobbin before setting to work on some stitch samples. Charlotte asked them to experiment with the straight stitch and adjusting the length before having a go at sewing around sharp corners and curves. A few people commented how much harder it was to sew a curve than a straight line.

Once they felt comfortable with using the sewing machine, Charlotte explained how to use the zigzag stitch to create an applique.

Their next challenge was going to be free-motion embroidery. They were shown how to change the machine foot and how the fabric could be manipulated on the machine. I chatted with the students about the prints they had created at CCAD and which piece they would prefer to embellish today.

I then prepared the fabrics by attaching interfacing to the reverse of the print to give it stability when using the sewing machine.

We also showed them some basic hand embroidery stitches that could be applied to enhance areas of their work. One student commented how her sample was just “too green” however when she began adding the free-motion embroidery it began to change and develop.

It was wonderful seeing how they didn’t feel the prints had come out as they had perhaps hoped but as they began adding the embroidery their outlook changed and they seemed much happier.

After a spot of lunch, Charlotte asked the group to do some research into the artists in residence at the Mushroom Works which is where we were heading this afternoon.

We were met by Nick James, the owner of the Mushroom Works who gave us an introduction to how he set up the studios and what he does before giving us a tour. Later we were introduced to Pier 74, Bethan Laker and Joanne Wishart, just some of the artists that have studios within the Mushroom Works.

It was lovely to see the interaction of the students with the artists and asking them what inspires them and how did they start on their chosen career.

I can’t wait to see how they further develop and what they will produce on the next stage of their journey.