Old school digitising and artistic flair have seen digitiser Lhea Barrett work on decoration jobs that range from flags for the film Gladiator to logos for racing car seats Old school flair L hea Barrett of Creative Needle is a rare breed: he‘s an old school digitiser who learned his craft before digitising software became the norm on the embroidery scene. He started in the industry by chance: 31 years ago he was studying A-level art at college with no idea about what he would do afterwards. A neighbour had a unit in an industrial park where a friend of his sold sandwiches from a van. The friend wanted a logo for the side of his van, Lhea‘s neighbour mentioned that Lhea was good at drawing and he got the job. An embroidery company saw the logo when they were buying sandwiches from the van, asked who designed it, and took Lhea on as a draughtsman. “In those days, in 1988, everything was hand drawn,“ explains Lhea. “When you did designs, they were all drawn six times bigger. And then you had to draw all the individual stitching in there as well. It wasn‘t plotted like it is nowadays, where you plot four corners and the software fills it in with stitching. In those days, you had to draw all those stitches in there, literally every single one. And then someone would put it onto a big board and plot every single stitch.“ A back of jacket design for Iron Maiden took them nine days. Nowadays, Lhea explains, it would take a couple of hours. A left breast logo would take 20 minutes today. Back then, it was a four- or five-hour job. “Obviously, it was priced a lot differently in those days,“ he comments. DECORATOR PROFILE 40 images APRIL 2019 Lhea Barrett of Creative Needle