Diary project Hand@Work

Finished work, work and photo Mique Menheere, design Pauline Nijenhuis
the photo it started with… Kruispunt (Crossroads), design & photo Pauline Nijenhuis


What a great feeling it was to finish my work far before the deadline given… As you may know, I’m participating in Pauline Nijenhuis’ art project Hand@Work. With 5 artists in total we are battling against an embroidery machine and investigating the results. See my earlier post http://artyembroidery.com/battle-against-embroidery-machine/.

So this summer no sandy beaches or remote islands for me. I was busy embroidering this pattern (see below). All the white areas had to be embroidered on a printed cotton fabric. The print on the fabric, was a copy of a painting Pauline made inspired by the photo Kruispunt (see on top of this article).

embroidery pattern, design Pauline Nijenhuis, photo Mique Menheere

Pauline Nijenhuis and team

Here you see Pauline designing the pattern.

Pauline Nijenhuis working at her project Hand@Work, courtesy by the artist

Pauline had invited 4 women artists to participate in the project. You see them here below. We all embroidered the same design, ad so did the embroidery machine of the Textiel Museum Tilburg. We worked individually at home, but had contact when we wanted to in a What’s app group. It gave me fun and inspiration.

Tessa van Helden, Hinke Schreuders, Mique Menheere, Marjolein Burbank, photo collection by Pauline Nijenhuis, courtesy Pauline Nijenhuis

Project houserules

There were some “rules”:

1.We would all stitch in the same direction: vertically stitches were only permitted.

2.We would use the (6 parts) Dmc Yarn

3. We would embroider the pattern

4. We would keep a log of our embroidery-process

the “embroidery kit”, photo Mique Menheere

Starting slowly…

Somehow I had some trouble starting the work. Later I heard I wasn’t the only one… It had to do with not being used to work in someone else’s way. Making very long stitches, working vertically, using this fabric… But of course I wanted to give my best. I didn’t want to deliver low quality work… as a result of that I didn’t started to work at all… procrastination had got into my way. In the log I kept, I wrote about it. Having too little faith, being afraid of judgement of others… it all came by.

log page about beginnen (starting), photo Mique Menheere

But of course I started. Someway. Somehow.

the first stitch, Mique Menheere, photo Mique Menheere

Needless to say I wasn’t always happy with my results. Here you see an example of stitches I removed later. To messy in my opinion… As you may understand that took some extra time. Friends of mine encouraged me to stop correcting things. Good is good enough, they said.

too messy… photo Mique Menheere

After some weeks I got the spirit. My speed in embroidering increased. I got more fun. I was more satisfied with my results. And above all I became very curious about the work of the embroidery machine and my team mates. What would be the difference?

there’s progress … photo Mique Menheere
working at home… photo Mique Menheere

Working everywhere

As time went by the pressure to finish in time increased. So I decided also to embroider outside my house, while “on the move”. In the train to work… in the metro… when visiting family… Meanwhile I got some nice reactions from train conductors and fellow travelers. A woman told me I lighted up her whole day. And other people gave me looks, just looks.

embroidering in the train…. photo Mique Menheere
embroidering at my sisters’ house … photo Mique Menheere

The finish

My efforts were rewarded, at the beginning of September I finished the work. I was happy and satisfied. Yes!

finished back side …, photo Mique Menheere

What next?

From October 12 till January 5, project Hand@Work will be exhibited at the CBK (Centre for Visual Arts) Emmen. The project consists of all the embroidered works, an installation and a short documentary of the making process. Project Hand@Work is a part of the solo exhibition Hand Schrift (Hand Writing) of Pauline Nijenhuis, consisting of photo’s, paintings and installations.

Besides that Tessa, Hinke and Marjolein exhibit a work of their own there, me also. I will show Neolitic Times, inspired by an archeological site on Cyprus. See also http://artyembroidery.com/sampler-diary-cyprus/.

Neolithic Times, Mique Menheere, photo Mique Menheere

I’m looking forward to the exhibition, can’t wait to see Pauline’s work. If you would like to know more about it, see https://www.cbkemmen.nl/tentoonstellingen/hand-schrift.

CBK Emmen, the factory, photo CBK Emmen

The place to be

CBK Emmen, De Fabriek (the factory), Ermerweg 88b, Emmen, Thursday till Sunday 13.00 – 17.00 hours

More arty embroidery?

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And remember… be creative while having fun!

Join the conversation


  1. Congretulations on finishing the work. It looks great. Would love to go to emmen together to see the exhibit

  2. Looked like a great project but would have liked to see the four different approaches though wonder how different they could be as it seemed you were all told to do exactly the same thing with the same threads.

    1. At October 12 the 5 works will be shown to the public at CBK Emmen. So from then I’ll be able to show those at my blog. It’s a main question of this project… will there be differences in the works despite our houserules?
      I can tell you already there are, last week I have seen a preview of the 5 works. Even in my own work I could see differences in parts embroidered at different moments in time. Tension in threads… level of accuracy… Those factors depended partly on my inner state at different moments in time. For example being hurried while embroidering, gave a different embroidered result than being in a relaxed state. But we’ll see what the public will think of it at the exhibition … Thx for your reaction!

  3. Wat ontzettend leuk om het blog te lezen en de foto van de inspiratie te zien, daar gaat het veel meer door leven. En top resultaat, fijn dat het zo mooi is gelukt! Annette

    1. thx annette! me myself i’m impressed by the translation pauline nijenhuis made from photo to embroidery design… i’m happy i could show these together now.

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