The fourth slide I have adopted is from 1985. The Schiffli* machine was a huge cast iron, multi-needle mechanical industrial embroidery machine that was acquired by the Department of Fashion & Textiles from Hewetson in Macclesfield. It was capable of embroidering lengths of cloth, and served the Embroidery Course well for many years.
Though repeat patterns were the basis of the machine, creative students were able to overcome its formal function through ingenuity, needle threading and colour changes, thus building up layerings of pattern and stitch.
The slide shows Carol Hutchinson’s final year work, whilst still in preparation on the machine in 1985 – a transparent mesh of fine black silk, freely over-stitched in rayon and metal threads.
This was the last mechanical Schiffli machine in the UK, but was scrapped in 2013 when the Department moved to a new building.
*see Melanie Miller and June Hill, Mechanical Drawing: the Schiffli Project, 2007 (ISBN 978-1-905476-12-6) http://www.miriad.mmu.ac.uk/crafts/schiffli/
Embroidery Lecturer, 1966-2005