Introduction to Canvas Work
Project design, tools of the trade, industrial machine stitching, materials, and lots more
- Ann Brayton —September 15–21
Ann has been running her very successful canvaswork business out of the family barn in Brooklin, Maine, for close to 20 years. Her reputation as an exceptional canvasworker (specializing in custom interior and exterior boat cushions) leads many of the area boatyards and boat owners to her doorstep each year with orders in hand. We are fortunate to be able to offer students the chance to work alongside Ann learning the basics of this valuable skill.
Canvaswork is one of those traditional crafts that have been part of the boat owner’s world for centuries. Sails, protective covers, seabags, even clothes were once made out of canvas by a ship’s bosun. These days, the availability of new synthetic fibers has drastically changed the landscape for those producing marine canvaswork, though many techniques remain the same. Students in this course will learn the ins and outs of working with a wide range of these materials that are on the market today.
Students will begin the week learning to use the industrial sewing machines we’ll have on hand for this course, followed by an introduction to all the various fabrics and foams available to the canvasworker. We’ll then look at the other tools of the trade, and learn how to install grommets, zippers, and other fastenings. The course will cover how to make various styles of boat cushions ranging from simple cockpit cushions to beveled V-berth cushions, and as time permits, students will learn to make other useful canvas projects, such as covers, bags, tool rolls, etc. Everyone will discover the step-by-step procedures in designing a project, choosing materials, and proper cutting and assembling to produce quality work that you will take pride in. Most canvaswork projects involve simple sewing techniques that are easy to master with plenty of practice, even if you’ve never done any sewing before. Students are welcome to bring their own projects to work on during class but must discuss their ideas with Ann prior to this week.
There is much satisfaction to be achieved from producing your own canvaswork, not to mention the financial savings involved. After this week in the loft with Ann, you’ll head home with confidence, a new awareness in working with fabrics, a completed project or two, and a seabag full of new skills.