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Soft Drawings: Cloth and Thread

Michele Elliot
  • Term: Term One 2018
  • Start Date: 17 Feb 2018
  • End Date: 14 Apr 2018
  • Time: Saturdays 10am–2pm
  • Number of Classes: 8
  • Teacher: Michele Elliot
  • Level: All Levels
  • Age: All Ages
  • Location: The National Art School
  • Availability: Unavailable

Develop a range of skills that make use of thread and stitch to create ‘soft’ drawings. Michele Elliot guides you through basic hand-stitching and experimental embroidery techniques combined with simple design and compositional exercises. Working with cloth instead of paper, students will be encouraged to play with creating patterns, shapes, textures and layers with various hand-stitch applications. Start collecting your own fabrics, such as a favourite shirt or worn-out household linen, to incorporate into your stitched drawings. You will experiment and combine these techniques to discover ways to use thread for mark-making and will produce a series of expressive artworks in a supportive studio setting. This course is designed for you to have fun with exercises that encourage looseness and imperfection through the hand-made, rather than precision and refinement. Michele will also introduce you to some inspiring artworks by contemporary artists who employ thread as a material for drawing.

Michele Elliot

Michele Elliot is a visual artist, educator and writer whose practice spans sculpture, installation, drawing, textiles and painting. Her artworks are dedicated to a material exploration that connects to body, memory and place. In April 2016 Ararat Regional Art Gallery presented a survey of Michele’s work, some kind of longing: textile works 1995–2015. Her artworks have been included in Horizon: Exploring the West Coast with The Clipperton Project, 2014; Tamworth Textile Triennial, 2010–12; Kindness: Udartha, New Delhi and Melbourne, 2012; and Australian Perspecta, AGNSW, 1993. Michele completed a Masters in Fine Arts at Monash University in 2007. She has taught sculpture, drawing and textiles at various universities including Curtin University, Perth, the Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, UNSW Art & Design and at the National Art School. Michele lives in the Illawarra, where she runs textile and drawing workshops.

Journal or notebook and a pen


  • Non-precious drawing paper (cartridge, newsprint – A3)
  • Tracing paper; tissue paper (a few sheets of each)
  • Any paper that you might be recycling at home, printed, plain, patterened
  • charcoal (compressed and willow)
  • ink, any colour
  • pencils (2B, 4B, 6B)
  • brushes (a couple of different sizes)
  • a soft sponge
  • eraser; glue-stick, masking tape
  • bulldog clips


  • cotton (100%), linen (100%) or silk - approx. 1 metre each.
  • No need to buy new, it could be an old sheet or tablecloth; please wash this beforehand.
  • tulle white or pale colour (1 metre)
  • felt or old woollen clothes/blanket scraps are good to work with
  • no canvas please, as it is hard to hand-stitch

Old cotton clothing, old household linen (tablecloth, pillowcase etc) the older and more worn the better and at least 2 pieces

If you have unused yarn, old fabrics or scraps at home, bring them along too.

Yarns: a good selection

  • cotton thread (black, white, coloured)
  • embroidery threads, stranded cottons (a range of colours)
  • wool (optional - various colours and thickness)
  • string and/or kitchen twine;
  • ribbon (optional – if you have some, bring it but no need to buy especially)

Other materials:

  • a bucket
  • some water containers or jars
  • disposable gloves
  • photographs, images, magazines, your drawings, anything that might be useful as resource material to translate into your soft drawings.


  • needles (a few different sizes for embroidery and wool)
  • scissors – sharp for cutting fabric; small for embroidery
  • embroidery hoop
  • dress-making pins
  • pegs
  • eye dropper

Protective clothing and covered footwear essential