A Couple on the Tube

It’s long overdue, but here is the finished image of my free machine embroidered drawing ‘A Couple on the Tube’. Safely back from Chelsea College of Art, it is now hanging on my wall in the workroom. The image was taken by Gould Photography.

A Couple on the Tube‘, 2018

The drawing was very exciting to make, but also extremely challenging. I started it because I needed to know if I could draw people with thread. At uni, I had tried to paint and draw people but had failed abysmally. However, I have a fascination with the human form, especially faces and couldn’t get the image of this couple out of my head.  The project started tentatively as I gathered books on portraiture and visited exhibitions on drawing. I wasn’t a trained painter, but I knew that I had to find a way to use the embroidery threads in a painterly way that would allow me to create the complex tones of flesh, textured fabrics, leather, manmade steel and rubber, transparent plastic bags and reflections in glass. Whilst this was all very frightening, I am sure that this naivety helped me to push the challenge forward to completion.


I am not sure what the next embroidered drawing will be, but I do have another photograph that is fixing itself in my head. However, it is a sensitive and emotive one that may just need a little more time to consider before I can start the process of enlarging and transferring onto dissolvable fabric.

For now, there is a lot to do with the drawing of ‘A Couple on the Tube’. From 30th November 2018, I will be exhibiting with a fabulous group of artists in a show called ‘Extremely Textiles’. This will run throughout December at the Black Swan Arts Centre, Frome, showcasing our diverse approach to textile art. I also need to try to solve the issue of the ‘Roundel’ so that I can consider the option of producing a limited number of giclée prints. I will look for further opportunities to exhibit the work, but for now, I am happy to stop, think and consider what might come next.




3 thoughts on “A Couple on the Tube

  1. Today I wrote this poem on seeing your amazing piece at Words at the Black Swan gallery in Frome.

    Couple on the Tube

    An anxious couple on the tube.
    Elderly, vulnerable, a little cold.
    Looking rather lost in life.
    She, clutches a bulging M&S shopping bag,
    a purchase that fails to lift the mood.

    He, wears an alpine jacket, ready for
    hills he will never climb, reads the ads
    lest he doze off and miss their stop.
    Behind them a man on the platform rumages
    through the bins, looking for discarded treasures.

    Sitting opposite them for a few stops,
    a flashlight went off in your mind.
    This moment of time scored in memory,
    calling you to make sense of what you saw.
    You ponder their story, that has become our story too.

    The scene keeps you awake,
    until one night, a vision comes
    of how to tell the story and translate
    the ephemeral instant moment with something
    taking time, meticulous, detailed.

    Two years later, the mystery of that moment
    is displayed on a gallery wall for us to see.
    Like a mirror that tells truths,
    we would rather not see, we look and see
    portrayed what has become of us.

    Mike Grenville

    1. Hi Mike. Thank you so much for taking time to write this astonishingly acurate portrail of my thought process and drive behind stitching my ‘A Couple on the Tube’. I was absolutely blown away and rather speachless​.

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