As Overwatch comes into it’s second year, it brings millions of players with it – some of them artists. There are many different forms of art and artists, popular in the Overwatch community are cosplayers and digital artists. However some of the non conventional artists have been overlooked.  Let’s bring them into the light, shall we. This week we will be learning a little bit about sew on patches!

Last week we had a look at NerdieNifties and her candles! For this episode of Rialto Gallery, I’ve interviewed shop owner Monika about her shop SilverclockThreads. Her love for Overwatch, other games and characters is shown through creating patches of Overwatch characters. The time and effort that go into these patches definitely shows!

What are patches?

Usually a patch is thought of to be a piece of cloth or other material used to mend or strengthen a torn or weak point, but in the recent years patches have become something in trend, no matter what you like there’s probably a patch for you!

Meet the artist!

Hi! I’m Monika, the owner of Silverclock Threads. I live with my husband and daughter in Bristol, UK, where I make my patches. I love tabletop, live action, and computer roleplaying games, and have been playing World of Warcraft on and off since the year it first came out. I actually met my husband in Azeroth! I also love crafting and am an accomplished knitter, crocheter, sewist, and embroiderer; I have created LARP costumes for my husband, my daughter, and myself, as well as several battle banners and group flags! It is this enthusiasm for crafting and for imaginary worlds that brought Silverclock Threads to life. 

What patch of yours is your favorite?

 I love all my patches, so it’s hard to pick favourites! But if I had to choose, I’d say I particularly like my mirror vinyl patches, like the Captain Amari beret eagle or Uprising Widowmaker Talon symbol. Thanks to the mirror shine of the fabric, the patches look as if they are made of metal! I’m still experimenting with this cool fabric. I’m also quite fond of the shipping patches such as PharMercy or McHanzo, and the feminist patches like the ‘Cats against Catcalls’ one.

What made you start playing Overwatch? Who’s your favorite hero? Also what do you think of the Summer games this year?

I wasn’t really sold on the idea of Overwatch at first. I’m not a fan of first-person shooters and wasn’t going to change my mind just because it was Blizzar or so I told myself! However, as the days passed and more information about the game came out, I was impressed with the amount of female characters available, their diversity, and the wide range of roles they could play. Suddenly there was more to choose from than one token woman or no female character at all, as with many FPS’s. I was intrigued, and I knew I had to try it out. The rest, as they say, is history. I’ve played all the female heroes extensively and I love them all, but I think my all time favourites have to be Mercy, Sombra, and Brigitte. Mercy because I like to help my team and I don’t have to aim while I do it, Sombra because she’s so fast and sneaky with her disappearing act, and hacking other players and health points is fun and Brigitte because she reminds me of my WoW character who is a Warrior, I just can’t resist that shield charge! The Summer Games this year brought us some really nice skins, and I’m a great fan of the new Ana and D.Va skin in particular. The Waveracer Dolphin may make an appearance on a patch very soon! 

Can you tell us a little about the process? What’s your favorite part?

Making patches takes several stages. First, I assess an image in terms of how good it will look as a patch, or if I can make it look good. I then take the image in a digital form and import it into Embird, an embroidery-making program. What follows can be days of painstaking work on the image to translate it into something the embroidery program understands. It is at this point I have to start thinking about which layers of the image will go over which, and if they need to be made in a flat stitch or a raised bumpy stitch. Once all the parts are translated and put in the correct sequence, I then clean up any loose ends and check the simulation on my program to see if the finished patch will look as I imagined. When I’m satisfied with the simulation, I compile the file into the right format, transfer it into the machine, and stitch out my first prototype. This is usually my favourite part of the process, seeing something that only a few moments ago was just a bunch of pixels and data suddenly become real. However, it can also be a very frustrating part, because sometimes the simulation looks better than the real thing! As a result, I may need to return to my embroidery program to make further adjustments. Once the patch finally comes out right, it’s ready to be cut out of the background fabric,  which I do by hand with very tiny, very pointy, very sharp scissors. After cutting it out and clearing any loose threads, the patch finally looks like a finished product so it’s time to photograph it! I use my smartphone camera and a photo editing app to adjust the images and correct the colours. All that’s left after this step is to make the listing on Etsy, write a good description, upload the photos and send it off to the world for you to see!

Monika has made some special patches and also has given us our own discount code! It’s 10% off, the code is “THEOMNICPOST”. It will run for 2 weeks from the 3rd of Sept until the 17th. So make sure to use it before it’s over!

You can find more of her work on Instagram! If you’d like to see other fantastic artists, you can visit The Omnic Art on Instagram.