The Joy of Stitch

Glimpse of the Graduation Show

Glimpse from the Graduation show
Glimpse from the Graduation show

Here are the first glimpses from the Graduation show! what pleases me most, is that people have been in acting with the embroidery and added their stitches to the large cloth which was started at the Event at the Exchange, Penzance.

Soon there will be more photos and reflective writing. The Show comes down on Friday, 21. June.

The Joy of Stitch

Stitch or Embroidery

On theTrain
On the Train

I was spending a morning with my friend Mark Leahy, a lecturer and performance artist and pondering about the question, why I preferred the term “Stitch” to ” Embroidery”. Mark responded immediately in saying the later one is loaded with associations of decorative, historical, and expectation of skill. In a way I hadn’t really thought about it, only became aware, that I had preferred to use the word ‘Stitch’, calling the project ‘Time and Stitch’ and the pieces of the project ‘Stitch samplers’. The event was called ‘Coffee, Cake and Stitch’. Strangely only on the collaboration with a musician, I had called the documentation ‘Music and Embroidery’. Musing about Mark’s remark, I thought, he got a point; the word ‘Stitch’ feels open and freer, feels free of expectations and I often had to explain this to people, who took part in the project and the event, that I didn’t expect fanciful or skilful embroidery. My emphasis was to share the experience of stitching with other people and inviting them to share their experience with me. 

And they did! Through their writing and talking to me about their experience.

Sometimes someone would say “Oh, it is about Cross-Stitch??” and I had to say, that it was about the process and the experience of Stitching. 

Why do I use Cross-Stitch? I like to stitch with Stitches which cover the stitched surface and are simple. Cross-stitch does that for me; it gives me a framework to work in the pattern, starting in the middle and working my way to the edge. It is simple, I don’t have to think too much about it, can enjoy the rhythm and the movement. When I am on my own, I can pay attention to my breathing and be in the present moment. When in company, I can still share the conversation and carry on stitching.

I was curious what people would stitch and had no expectations. Still I was surprised that no one referred to any pre-fabricated pattern from books, magazines or websites. People really worked with, what they knew and enjoyed and wanted to share. 

On the event ‘Coffee, Cake and Stitch’ some people asked me at the beginning: “What do you want me to do?” and I just said:”Stitch!” and they did!

As having receives permission to play with cloth and yarn, it enabled them to enjoy the process and the sharing in company: quite a few said on leaving:”When you do another one (Stitch Event) let me know!”


The Joy of Stitch

ALTAMIRA – LISTENING TO THE WORLD

Screen shot 2013-06-04 at 18.34.56

http://www.tumblr.com/blog/tristiane

This a video on YouTube clip from the Altamira Project by Boris Lebong.

Here is an excerpt from the website : ALTAMIRA – LISTING TO THE WORLD

http://www.altamiraworld.net/

“Altamira is a sociocultural project I founded in 1998. I have been involved full time with it since then. 

With music as a guideline, ALTAMIRA explores through action and reflection the role of cultural issues in the processes of human development.

We think cultural resources vaporization is a mainspring of social empowerment. Our projects thus lean on the link between the art of music and the weakening art of living together.

With Altamira, we explore the link between culture and society, and how it can be a mainspring of social empowerment. Practically, we make community-based records, we set up pluridisciplinary shows as well as cultural interactions of all sorts : open mics, conferences, screenings, etc… 

Music is the guideline of these projects, but they are first of all human projects based on sharing and creating together”

I found the website, the text, the whole approach and the aims and the video work very inspiring.

P.S. I will try to figure out how to upload the video to the blog!

till then, this is the YouTube link:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=boris+lelong+embroidery&oq=boris&gs_l=youtube

The Joy of Stitch

Conceptual Research

The Conceptual Research

 My practice evolved out of my research for my dissertation ‘Stitch, Yarn and People’. I had of with researching artists who used Textile material and techniques in their work. Soon I discovered the aspect of Participation with the use of Textile techniques/materials.

My practice evolved out of my research for my dissertation ‘Stitch, Yarn and People’. I had of with researching artists who used Textile material and techniques in their work. Soon I discovered the aspect of Participation with the use of Textile techniques/materials.

Conversations with a Mark Leahy, a performance artist, brought me into contact with Richard Powell and the group ‘halfangel’ (www.halfangel.ie/knitting.ie/theknittingmap.html‎).

Also with Gareth Ballyn and his project ‘evenfeed’ (www.garethballyn.co.uk/2012/01/even-feed/‎)

Both were a defining part of my dissertation and I have been writing in my blog about them. Both were projects, though very different in scale and duration, which were the greatest influence for me.

These projects made me aware that the emphasis for me lies in the process of the activity, the slow process of embroidery/stitch, the embedded concerns regarding ecological responsibility and sustainability.

The first step was to choose an ongoing project for myself, stitching on pieces of Hemp with wool yarn, which is produced in Britain.Over time three pieces of stitch on cloth evolved.

three piecesThree Pieces Stitch on Hemp Cloth, 2013-05-28

 I documented the process, the journey and reflection about it through video, photography and writing. In the process the following aspects of my work became relevant: 

 The Activity – embroidery/stitching as a durational process

The Participation – sharing the activity through projects and events

The Collaboration – creating dialogues with other artists, like musicians, as in this body of work.

Influential were also ideas from aesthetics and concerns, based in Zen philosophy and Japanese Craft design.

Wabi-Sabi

Excerpt from Wikipedia

Wabi-Sabi (?) Represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centrered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.[1] It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō?), the other two being suffering (苦 ku?) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 kū?).

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetryasperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

From the Blog:   http://donnawatsonart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/wabi-sabi-poetry.html

Japanuese Textiles
Mended coat by Junko Oki

Accept the inevitable… Life is fleeting and transient…. impermanent. That is why Zen teaches one to live in the moment… focus on the intrinsic small details… and get rid of the unnecessary.

 That is why Zen and Wabi-Sabi are so tied to nature. Truth comes from observing nature.

Also the writing of Tim Ingold (LINES – A short History of Lines and Creative Entanglements) was informative.

Looking back, I realized that my greatest inspiration during the past academic year came from conversation with other artist, painters, textile artists and musicians about process, sensibilities towards mindfulness, holistic approaches, environmental responsibilities, slowness and appreciation of being in the moment.

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

From the Blog: http://donnawatsonart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/wabi-sabi-poetry.html

Accept the inevitable… life is fleeting and transient…. Impermanent.

That is why Zen teaches one to live in the moment… focus on the intrinsic small details… And get rid of the unnecessary.

That is why Zen and Wabi-Sabi are so tied to nature. Truth comes from observing nature Also the writing of Tim Ingold (LINES – A short History of Lines and Creative Entanglements) was informative.

Looking back, I realized that my greatest inspiration during the past academic year came from conversation with other artist, painters, textile artists and musicians about process, sensibilities towards mindfulness, holistic approaches, environmental responsibilities, slowness and appreciation of being in the moment.

The Joy of Stitch

THE STITCH SAMPLERS

I have send out more than 70 envelpopes with Stitch Kits and more than 50 have returned. Most days I find another envelope with a Stitch Sampler coming with the post!

The Sitch Samplers 1
The Sitch Samplers 1
The Sitch Sampler 2
The Sitch Sampler 2
The Sitch Sampler 3
The Sitch Sampler 3

These are excerpts from my documentation. It has been a very wonderful return!

It is still in the process to write down the comments, I will at least post some

Examples soon.

The Joy of Stitch

An Afternoon with Sue Dove

IMG_4290
Sue Dove at the “Coffee, Cake and Stitch” Event, May 2013

I meet Sue Dove in 2002, when I had started my A level course in Textiles and she was running a drop-in session at her studio in Hayle. I experienced Sue as a very intuitive teacher, who aimed at supporting student in their way of expression, never imposing her own way and approach. Sue’s own work defies to be easily categorized, for me it is to  strong, colorful and individually: one can detect influences from the Fauves, Expressionism and Folk Art. Her work no matter which medium she uses , may it be stitched on canvas, sculpture in fabric and stitch, mixed media, paint or print, speaks of a great joy of Making. Looking again at the wide range of her work it brings home to me, that I admire her strength not to be pigeon-holed.“Sue Dove is an artist, teacher, curator; she paints, stitches and prints;She was head of HND Textile Fine Art of Cornwall College and runs ‘Art for Health’ and ‘Alternative Doll’ workshops. She graduated from Liverpool School of Art in 1974. After travels in Cornwall, Morocco and ten years living in Australia, she settled back in Cornwall in the mid nineties. Her book, ‘Painting with Stitches’ is available from Searchpress.com”  (From: http://www.workshopontheweb.com/july2001/dove.pdf) Often over the years,when we met at various places and events, we often would have a laugh, because we would have some kind of “needlework” in our bags! Making is a way of life for Sue, once she told me about wrapping yarn around cord as part of her sculptures while waiting for the bus! We both are often asked, how we find the time for this “time consuming” activity, and the answer is we do, where and whenever we can. Sometime ago, I had told Sue about my project ” Time and Stitch” and also the follow up ” Coffee, Cake and Stitch”. Not only was she happy to contribute and take part in both projects, she also agreed to the meet me for an afternoon to talk about Stitch and Creativity. Even so our work is very different, we both share one particular aspect:

“The Joy of Stitch”

An Afternoon with Sue Dove

Sue Dove
Sue Dove

So today Sue joined me for Tea and Cake and a very good conversation. Typically for her, as soon as she sat down, she took one of her Stitched Pictures out and started, talking and stitching, so did I!

Work by Sue Dove
Work for the Unit 11 Show at Morvah Schoolhouse 2012
The Small One - work in progress
The Small One – work in progress

I asked Sue if she remembered when she started to stitch/embroider and why; Sue said, after her graduation, she specialized in Weaving, then she found it challenging and impractical to carry on when she started a family and needed a way of working, that was more portable and allowed to work in small but often moment and Stitch offered the perfect solution. It was fascinating for me because I developed Embroidery as a medium from similar experience, initially haveing a small child and needing matreial which fits into life. In the process I developed a deeper appreciation for work with yarn, needle and cloth. Sue and I have in common a deep to pick up something yarn related everyday, carrying it with us. Sue showed me the part of her current project, she had finished during a meeting of the St. Ives Society of Artists’s meeting. Sue’s work is related to Folk Art, Art Fauve, Expressionism and she translates her ideas fluidly into drawing, oil pastel work, Paintings and Embroideries: she said that she very happily sells her paintings and drawings but find it hard to let go of her embroideries as they carry so much of  her life in them. I whole heartedly can empathize with this feeling! Sue also said that the process of stitching, the repetition of movement, the feel of the yarns and threads are a great pleasure. This deep joy comes out for us in our work and we feel we can communicate it with those people who can connect with our work.  There is a tactile quality in the work which we cherish and want to share.              

The Joy of Stitch

Mindfulness and Stitching

Thich Nhath Hanh
Thich Nhath Hanh

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”

― Thich Nhat HanhBeing Peace

Being mindful, while stitching, brings the dimension to it, I am looking for.

The book “Happiness” by Thich Nhath Hanh is a great inspiration on this way.

happiness

It makes a great difference when I stitch and calm my mind. I love the term “Monkey Mind”, it feels friendly, just something that is and sometimes it needs very gentle calming down, a chance to be grounded and relax. I can be kind to my own Monkey Mind and Stitching help’s me to find these moments when breathe and stitch and breathe and smile and with every Stitch come back to breathing in and out.

The Small One
The Small One

Stitching brings me into the present when I take care of my mind.

Mindfulness, Slowness, Environmental Responsibility and Connetedness with other people are foundation aspects in my work.

 

 

 

The Joy of Stitch

“Time and Stitch” Project – The Documentation

Today I have started to document the “Time and Stitch” Project, the first step is to photograph the Stitch Samplers and then to write down the comments. During the process of photographing, I was reading the comments again. It is rather humbling, how many people wrote very appreciative of enjoying their time with the Stitching, certain phrases/words return time and time again: relaxing, quiet, time on my own, enjoying, not much talent, time flew by, stillness. Some people shared personal references about their chosen motives like traveling, family, children. It is a fascinating insight into how these people perceived the experience of Stitching, given a very contained frame work of a postcard sized piece of hemp linen and a bobbin of embroidery wool. Everyone, so far created their own design, no one resorted to a stitch pattern, which is an interesting aspect in itself.

IMG_0688
Stitchsampler I
Stitchsampler II
Stitchsampler II
Uncategorized

Wabi-Sabi

The book “New Standard Craft” about Japanese contemporary craft, embedded in a specific ethic and aesthetic context (simplicity as a value in time were “less” is “more”‘) was and is still my major inspiration behind my work. At the beginning it was the simplicity of the image and the paired down aesthetic of the objects. To me it has a link to William Morris quotation:

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to useful, or believe to be beautiful ” William Morris

Also the essays in this book give an insight into the thinking of the designers involved (more reading and extracting of content to follow)

NEW STANDARD CRAFT
New Standard Crafts – Seikatsu Kogei Kazumi Tsuji

The following images are from the book “NEW STANDARD CRAFTNEW STANARD CRAFT  LADLENEW STANDARD CRAFT Seikatsu Kogei

NEW STANDARD CRAFT GLAS

Today in the library I “found” the book about Wabi-Sabi. I remember someone talking about it and it is just what I have been looking for! To me it appears to be the aesthetic philosophy linked to Buddhism  and Japanese Crafts aesthetic.

Wabi-sabi

Zen garden of Ryōan-ji. It was built during the Higashiyama period

A Japanese tea house which reflects the wabi-sabi aesthetic in Kenroku-en (兼六園) Garden

Wabi-sabi tea bowl, Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century

Wabi-sabi () represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō), the other two being suffering (苦 ku) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 ).

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry,asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

Description

“Wabi-sabi is the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty and it occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do theGreek ideals of beauty and perfection in the West.” “if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi.” “[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”

Uncategorized

A New Beginning

Embroidery

Today I had my first tutorial with Gillian Wylde, there is so much information to share and getting to know each other.It felt good, because I felt understood

This is the transfer from my mind map, unfortunatly I haven’t found out yet how to copy and past the grapphic as well, oh well, on step at a time!!!

The Beauty ot the Act of Hand Making

I.      The way is the goal, not the destination

A.   Documenting through Still Photography

II.     Zen as a stepping point towards a visual sensibility

A.   The Stillness and Beauty in Japanese Craft

III.    Multi-sensory experience 

A.   Touch of wool, fabric and yarn

B.   Sound> interplay and response in dialogue

C.   Visual

in real time and documentation (Film, Photography)

IV.    sharing of the experience > collaborative and participation

Gillian seemed to understand my multi layered approach:

– working on a real-time piece of embroidery,which will become a “companion” through out the process,

– my wish for collaboration with others through working together with photography and video,

– incorporating interdisciplinary collaboration with musicians

– and a parallel approach which shows solitude and being with other people as in :

> being myself  the antagonist, the person who creates through the retreat in to embroidery a reflective space in a fast, hectic world

> and creating situation in which I wish to share this with other, stitching in a public space and inviting other to share to work and my space for a short moment in time.

Gillian will email me links to artists and events for my conceptual research, she suggestes Ann Hamilton, Tom van Holland, Roni Lee and the “Mending Conference”

 

Becoming friends with me