Posts Tagged ‘digitizing’

Fridays At The Office

10727453_1534215756813297_808775667_n

When our head digitizer Dee needs to get some work done without being bothered, she shuts her cube door. We added this sign one day when she wasn’t looking. It helps that we have really awesome photos to work with and mad photoshop skills.

Want more sneak peeks, office life, and behind the scenes? Follow us on Instagram at urbanthreadsemb

Diving Into Digitizing – A Newbie Digitizer’s Experiment

As Urban Threads grows, now and again we get to add to our talented team of digitizers and artists. Our most recent addition is our pink-haired digitizing queen Bonnie. She came into this with a lot of artistic talent to begin with, so her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of digitizing as an art is a fascinating one. The rare peeks into the world of digitizing often come from those who have worked in the industry for awhile, but what’s it like facing this unique technology as a total newcomer?  

Bonnie gives us that peek by sharing a fun personal experiment she embarked on when she first started, and shares her insights as to what it was like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

New UT digitizer Bonnie

New UT digitizer Bonnie

When I first started digitizing I felt overwhelmed and amazed by the beautiful designs that were on the Urban Threads site. How was it even possible to paint with stitches? I was learning the science of the process, but I wanted to experiment with the art of embroidery. My dogs Hopscotch and Possum were my first choices to work with as inspiration, but the design needed to be as unique as they are…

It was obvious that embroidered dogs in space suits were the only possible thing I could do.

I found some great photography references for space stuff and started looking through the painterly designs on the Urban Threads site to see how the light-stitching effect was created. I wanted to plan how I was going to create shading, and I studied how the filled areas were layered to create subtle regions of color while keeping the stitch count low. The trick seemed to be finding the right density so that there were enough stitches to visually fill the space, but few enough to leave the fabric and layers of color beneath peeking through.

This really is an artistic process and it felt like learning a new medium. Technically, I was not officially doing this advanced type of work at the time, so this was all about fun experimentation!

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

Early sketch ideas

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

The most important part of course – dogs in spacesuits

I created a few loose sketches of how I wanted the cockpit of the spaceship to look. I decided I was going to flip the first design and just change some details to save time and make them look symmetrical. Then it was time to turn them into stitches…

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

The on-screen digitized designs in Wilcom

I had to first choose a few shades of gray to work with so that I could blend them from dark to light, just like painting. It became quickly apparent how difficult this is to manage while keeping the number of color changes low. When you are painting, it doesn’t matter how many times you go back and forth between colors to add more shading. When embroidering, the progression from one color to the next needs to be planned out so that as much of each thread color is stitched out at once as possible before moving on to the next. The freedom of moving from place to place within the embroidery design as you would with a painting is also lost, because each time you move from one area to another it creates a trim. This requires planning as you move throughout the piece, making sure each area of color has a way to connect to the next. This was difficult for me because my artistic style is extremely spontaneous. Creating the painterly style of embroidery was more like building a complex puzzle than pushing color around with a paintbrush.

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

After digitizing a few layers of open fills (the same technique used to create the painterly designs), I added touches of lighter colored satins to add shine, and imply a light source outside of the window. That is usually my favorite part of working on any piece of art — making things look shiny! In addition, by choosing a dark fabric to act as part of the design, I was able to leave the stitching light, and work mostly on the highlights.

Not everything worked exactly as planned, but it was amazing to use my traditional art skills to blend colors and layers of embroidery. It felt awkward and challenging, but the excitement of the potential outweighed any problems I ran into.

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

The final stitched versions

During the sewing out process I witnessed firsthand why we work so hard to limit the number of color changes and trims and why we make sure that there are not more stitches in a design than necessary. The best part was learning why people enjoy embroidery so much — it’s incredible to hold the finished product in your hands and love it!

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

I learned so much more than I was expecting to during the creation of these designs. Drawing and digitizing them gave me a whole new respect for our artists and digitizers here.

UT digitizer Bonnie shares her experience of diving into the strange and technical world of machine embroidery digitizing as a total newcomer with a fun experiment. See what it's like to work through the weirdness of how machine embroidery really works when you’re totally new to the medium…

Plus, the little astronaut approved!

If you want to see more about how we experiment with the medium of machine embroidery in often totally weird ways, you can also check out another project that our head digitizer Danielle and art director Niamh teamed up to make happen, called the Crane Wife. You’d be surprised how many techniques and new art styles we’ve discovered with off-the-wall experimentation like this!

Fridays At The Office

914770_1454274168165830_681809688_n

Everyone digitizes with a little bit of their own flair here. Bonnie has a particularity awesome decked-out digitizing hand, don’t you think?

Want more sneak peeks, office life, and behind the scenes? Follow us on Instagram at urbanthreadsemb

Fridays At The Office

Behind the scenes peeks at life and work at the Urban Threads office

Our head digitizer Danielle and her little unicorn buddy working on digitizing a new series. Given that this photo features skulls and unicorns, I’d say it sums up the Urban Threads office pretty well. Happy Friday everyone!

Want more sneak peeks, office life, and behind the scenes? Follow us on Instagram at urbanthreadsemb

Urban Entrepreneurs – Dahlia Soleil

Back again for another edition of Urban Entrepreneurs, where we feature sellers of any kind who have decided to take the plunge (with the help of some UT designs) and start their own small biz. Today’s crafty seller is the lovely Paulette, a machine embroiderer working in New York City and owner of Etsy store Dahlia Soleil. Paulette has been working to expand the embroidery market for African American people so she can see more images and designs that reflect her and her daughter, a gap she found in the stitchy world that she intends to fill.

She’s constantly honing her digitizing skills creating her own embroidery designs as well as using Urban Threads in her work. As a rare mix of classic UT stitcher and self-made digitizer, we decided we had to share some of her work as well as the awesome things she’s made using Urban Threads. She joined us to share a little of what her journey has been like…

Untitled-1

dahlia soleil black and white picture

What started you into embroidery? 

I started in machine embroidery because it seemed like a niche market. Not many people were doing it so it seemed like a great field to jump into and create some unique products.

dahlia soleil skull slouch hat

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

Back in 2009 I was searching for cool designs and Urban Threads was the only embroidery designs website that seemed cool and modern and creative!

urban threads jokers

What made you take the plunge into starting your own store?

I was selling my creations at outdoor markets in New York City and a lot of tourists from overseas and other US states wanted another way to continue to buy from me. Selling online was the best way for me to offer them my work in a setting that was easy to view and buy and ship to them.

urban threads guitar tshirt

What kinds of folks are your customers? Who do you hope to cater to? 

My customers are mostly women or men buying gifts for the women in their lives. I hope to fill the hole missing in the embroidery world of images of black/African/African-American people.

Custom design by dahlias soleil

Custom design by Dahlia Soleil

I want my daughter Dahlia to see an image that looks like her and myself in the embroidery world. My store is special because it combines crocheting and embroidery … two crafts that are timeless and beautiful. Passed on from generation to generation.

urban threads guitars

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?

The biggest lessons I’ve learned since I began selling online is … great photographs matter!

Since the customer cannot reach out and touch my embroidered pieces, taking a great photograph is the next best thing. And I’ve learned that people really appreciate artists and want to support small businesses like mine.

urban threads typewriters

Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?

In one year I plan to buy another embroidery machine and I hope my shop has about 1000 items in it. I’m really excited to go back to college this year to get a bachelor’s degree in business management. It’s important for us artists to master the art of making things AND the art of running a business.

Custom design by Dahlias Soleil

Custom design by Dahlia Soleil

It’s inspiring to see a crafter spot a gap in the market and work hard to try and fill it. It’s exactly how Urban Threads got started! With Paulette’s determination and crafty skill I know Dahlia Soleil will continue to craft up great things, and find a whole new market for the world of machine embroidery.

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at blog@urbanthreads.com with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!

Gear Threads on Mr X Stitch

Our inaugural Gear Threads post is up on Mr X Stitch!

We thought we’d start the series out by explaining a little about what goes on behind the magic of machine embroidery, specifically with the art of digitizing. It’s a more general introduction on what its like to be a digitizer, and what kinds of challenges that art form faces. We interviewed renowned digitizer Erich Campbell from Black Duck Embroidery, and he has a lot of awesome stuff to say on the matter. You want to peek behind the curtain?

Go check it out!