Naseem Darbey’s Hollow Drawing Workshop

A few of us were a bit terrified of the ‘drawing’ aspect of Naseem’s workshop, but Naseem made it fun and we did some interesting exercises.

There was a collection of objects to select from, feathers, butterflies, skulls. We started by looking carefully at our chosen object and not at the paper; we’d all chosen a pencil at the start but Naseem encouraged us to go bold with a brighter thicker drawing implement.

We were all quite amused by our drawings. The next exercise was to draw our object with continuous line in preparation for machine stitching later.

Naseem had an interesting idea for a background which was quick and fun to make and we machine-stitched our drawing several times onto the background . We also made a free standing version of our object using a vanishing film which stabilised the piece whilst we stitched it, then it was washed away.

We were sworn to secrecy as Naseem showed some ideas for how she would be developing her own work in the future.

Naseem’s work can be seen at

Here are a few comments by the other workshop attendees:

Halifax Embroiderers Guild is my happy place. A workshop makes me super happy. One as good as Naseem’s, full of good teaching, new skills and fun is just magic, thank you.

Naseem started off the day with drawing (which usually throws me into a panic as drawing of any kind is definitely not my forte!). She had brought various mediums for us to try out and the exercises were designed to loosen us all up, stress the importance of looking all the time and get us into the spirit of continuous line drawing which is really what machine embroidery is. And then it was on to the real thing – creating base fabrics with organza, snippets of fabric, threads, ready for machine embroidery using our drawing as a guide – what a great day.

Naseem was brilliant at bringing out the artist in even the most reluctant of “non drawers”. It was great to see the pride as people created both a range of stylised drawings and new textiles techniques and processes. She really was right when she said you would go home with a portfolio of work. A really productive day, exploring samples we can develop and play around with after the day.

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