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

Thoughts about Pattern and Colour

Someone ,who had looked at the small cloth, remarked that it reminded her of Native American Weaving. In a conversation it opened  up the question of the relevance of the pattern and colors I have chosen for my three embroidery pieces. It has also led me back to reflect on the material I have chosen.

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The Cloth

The  cloth is made out of hemp fiber, it is woven like a rough, rustic natural colored linen, undyed, unbleached, uneven in the weave structure, very unlike the usual embroidery canvas, which is even in its weave. The cloth comes from Poland. Hemp requires a third or a quarter of water in comparison to cotton, no pesticides and bring nutrients back into the soil, instead of leaving it http://www.houseofhemp.co.uk/links.html. Hemp is regarded as one of the most sustainable fibers. In the Northern hemisphere one crop is the rule, in the Southern hemisphere is two crops per annum. Hemp is hard wearing as well in cloth as other uses. The irregularities makes  the stitches are uneven, changing in width and length. The embroidered surface becomes more lively to me, with all the changes, while the cross stitch still provides a structure . The Hemp cloth comes from the House of Hemp (Cornwall, Bude) and has been produced in Poland, it is unbleached and uncolored.

The environmental aspect behind the choice of this material is a relevant part in my work. I see a necessity to be coherent in striving to be environmentally mindful as much as I can in all aspects of my life and with this evolving art practice I have found a way of bring my way of showing environmental respect.

For more detailed information on Hemp  visit: http://www.houseofhemp.co.uk/links.html

Exerpt from the website:

The House of Hemp
Is a small studio providing Natural and Hand colored yarn
Our Hemp is sourced in Europe
It is folded at Cold Harbour Mill in Devon
We prepare and colour the yarn in our Studio
Using a dye that we consider to be as environmentally friendly as is available currently
Our yarn can be purchased here online or
At the public shows we attend during the year

BEESTON FARM  MARHAMCHURCH  CORNWALL  EX23 0ET  UNITED KINGDOM
Tel: 44 (0)1288 381638  E-mail:shopping@houseofhemp.co.uk

The Yarn and its Colours

As I am concerned about the material I use, I wanted to use British wool. What Air miles apply to the food we consume and the consideration that locally produced  is better for the environment, the same applies in my thinking to all areas of life and here to my art practice. appletone is a caompany, which produces yarn for embroidery since 1835 and the yarn comes in ove 400 shades. Luckily it is available at Truro Fabrics. (My equivalent  to an artist’s material shop!).

The yarn is known for it’s more muted coloures. Single colors often come in at least 3 shades. I started with a rather large cloth (1.50m square); the first environment was St.Mary’s church and I was influenced by the soft  tones of whites and grays, but also by the color of, the winter sky, and the sea, which was further enforced as the documentation moved outside onto the beach near Marazion.

Later on I felt like working with warmer tones, so the “Middle One”  started with almost pastel tones and moved on to , what I would call “landscape colors”, still warm and more mid tone.

It is growing....
It is growing….

The “Small One” went through a phase of several time unpicking and times of “not right” until it settles at a pattern and a colorful way , in which I feel content with.

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The “Small One”

The three pieces have a different character to them and fell. What they have in common , is they emerge in the process of creating them, the pattern is very loosely based on Quilt pattern as a acknowledgement to a older Textile tradition.

The mainaspect was, to start in the middle , so that they could grow outwards in time. The exhibition will not be their end, only a break a pause. 

When I feel,  they are finished is a process in the making.

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.

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Stitchsampler I
Stitchsampler II
Stitchsampler II
The Joy of Stitch

Time, Purpose and Companion Pieces

Time, purpose and companion pieces

Over Easter I spend two week in Germany with my mother (who will be 85 soon) and friends.

There were  moments of dialogue and reflections.
28. March 2013, before the Church Concert
For quite some years now, I tend to have some kind of needlework (knitting, crochet and these days again embroideries) with me most of the time.

Taking work around with me, started when my son was born. Embroidery provided a practice of expressing myself, which allowed me to pick it up in any spare minute, with no need for a special place like a workshop or a studio. I realized then, how much I enjoyed working on my pieces in public. My friend Sue Dove agreed that she found Embroidery suitable for a transient life. She had been a weaver before. (More about her in an extra post)

IMG_0060Knitting in Marazion

 I regularly meet with the question:” how long does it take you to finish this?” or if I wear one of my favorite knitted triangular shawls the question is:” How long did it take you?”.

It is rare for me to be in a hurry to finish something.
Like today, in 2 hours I crocheted a gray woolly barrette, because I had forgotten to take a warm hat with me to Germany.

 I bought 2 balls of very thick yarn and a matching crochet hook and ca. 2 hours later the problem of cold ears was solved.

 It is the legacy of my mother; if we need something we make it (within reason!).
My shawls are my companion pieces; they are with me, until they are finished. It is a special comforting moment, to sit down and work a few stitch, it is quieting  the mind, creates a moment of purpose, relaxes, I breathe deeper.

 Often I am actually a bit sad when they finally come off the knitting needle.

 

29. March 2013
My embroidery piece also have become what I call “companion’ piece.

I’m writing this in my mother’s sitting room.
When my mother gave the piece, I am working on, at first glance, her immediate response was, the stitch were untidy.

 The upper stitch and the lower stitch have to face the same direction in one row.

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to create

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My mother trained in the late 1940 as a tailor/dressmaker and did her Master in the early 1950’s. After she retired in the early 1980’s she took up Danish cross-stitch and Hardanger Embroidery.

It’s intriguing to make a connection now how much this generation was in so many aspects of their life’s trained to follow the rules and things had to have an end to their means and a purpose.

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The Middle One (On the train, March 2013)

Later in a Cafe
Her following questions were:
“What will it be?”
“How big will the embroidery be?
” How long will it take you?”

And all I could do is today:
” I don’t know and I don’t need to know now.”

I feel, there will be a moment, where feels right to say: ” Here I will stop working on this piece. “

 

In her honor I am now incorporating at times the “right” way of cross stitch, first the row of the under stitch and then the top stitch. I can choose between the traditions and honoring them and following my own way of doing it.

The pieces will be part of my graduation show; it feels like inviting friends round.

 

Because for these pieces of embroidered cloth will tell about all those moments they have been with me, on my travels, on trains, in cafes.

Even if I cannot relate to a particular section a certain event, they still hold the memory of the time spend with them.

 

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The Chinese One (Miss Peapod, March 2013)

The Joy of Stitch

Where do I go from here

knitting at Krowji
knitting at Krowji

Most of the time it is another shawl, usual triangular.

My nearest and dearest groan:” Not another one!!” and I think: “Oh, yes please!”

Why? I love the action of working with my hand and I want to enjoy it, without being distracted by complicated pattern etc.

I love the feel of wool, my wooden knitting needles and the rhythm I can get into. 

The action of a handcraft like knitting and embroidery brings me right into the moment, centers my attention.

It brings a satisfaction with it which is hard to explain, because it is the slow steady rhythm,

the looking back over the finished stitches, there is no hurry to fulfill a deadline, they are works in progress.

The Joy of Stitch

‘Time and Stitch’ – The Project

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Time and Stitch

The project ‘Time and Stitch’ brought for me the missing aspect of working with other people into my work.Through posting  on Facebook, emailing friends but also talking to people, friends etc. my work suddenly has become public: I encountered a wide range of responses, some people thought it was an event, and they had to go somewhere, other blanked it first, through ‘overload’ on Facebook, but became interested through a more personal approach as in messages, etc.   The response “sorry, but I don’t have time” features quite frequently, was then often dropped, when an explanation of a rather small task followed.

The Joy of Stitch

Time and Stitch – Thoughts

Time and Stitch Thoughts

Time and Stitch
Time and Stitch

..,, The project ‘Time and Stitch’ is an exploration about how we perceive time when we create something with out hands, on the example of stitch / embroidery.

The purpose of My embroidery in this work is to experience the effect of a very slow and time consuming activity. The objects, the embroidered cloth are a physical documentation of time spend, mostly alone and some times in company.

The videos and photos are the documentation of the journey, of the process.

Why Stitch and Music?

My personal experience come into play; as I enjoy the activity of needlecraft, and knitting and crocheting, I tend to take it with me to most place I know. In    Penzance I am known as “the woman who knits”. I love live music; a wide range from my local Folk group, the blues my man played, to orchestral concerts and chamber music and the knitting comes along. While the hands are engaged I listen with greater intend.
This bore the idea to explore the interaction between a musician and a stitcher.
In my experience the dialog is tangible , a gentle much more internal communication .

The Joy of Stitch

Sea, Wind, Embroidery and Music

Sea, Wind, Embroidery and Music

Stitch and the Elements
Stitch and the Elements

Marazion Beach - close up S1320013

Today was my first outing with my Embroidery into the landscape, out on the rocks, just before Mousehole near Penzance.

It was a new experience for me: to be in the wind, to hear the sea crashing and the gulls crying above;  sitting on the rocks , stitching.

It was cold and windy and at the same time exhilarating; it made me feel very alive and grateful. to be able to live so near to the sea and the elements.

Taking my activity outside into the environment, changes  my awareness of this place, a place close to my home.

 

The filming requires collaboration, a dialoge with the person behind the camera (Thank you so much Bill!!), it requires communication, taking out of my head thevision of what I am looking for and making another person understood what I want to see in the documentation of myself and the activity of Stitiching/Embroidery.

I enter a process with the person I am working with, there is a give and take, an exchange of ideas.

Music – the music is guitar improvisation by Bill Goodyear (thank you again for your time and input).

It was recorded later in his flat during another filming session.

Bill’s music becomes an audio anchor for my mind, my hands are moving and I am listing, entering a place of calm.

We also recorded a conversation about the experience and the interaction without words influences the music and the stitching.

The experience and the process are opening more questions rather than giving answers and

To put it in a very simple way, I do appreciate this aspect, as it is a “journey” ,  it has a beginning and it will continue.

Again, just a reminder:

The video, the photos and the writing, also the stitched cloth, they  are all a documentation of Time, time spend in a particular way.

The Joy of Stitch

Rolling on……

colours and cloth
colours and cloth
And it is still rolling!!! More people are joining and I am really excited to see when the Stitch Samplers come back to me and I will see what they all have come up with! 
For those who still thinking of joining, just to say, the ‘Stitch kit’ contains a small piece of fabric (hemp, a bit like natural linen, which comes from Poland and a small bobbin of Appleton Crewel Wool, which is made in England since 1835 and a embroidery needle). 
The fabric is dyed by my friend Lorraine, who makes beautiful clothes out of it (http://www.sidekickclothing.co.uk/contact.htm
When you receive your kit, I wish you stitch whatever you like, how much or how little. Every stitch count, every stitch is a shared moment. 
Take it off the card, but please stitch it back on and write on the back you name, how long it took you and , in a nutshell how it was!!
I will keep you posted what will happen next!!!
Happy Stitching xxx
The Joy of Stitch

More Stitch on the Go

More Stitch on the go!
More Stitch on the go!

I am feeling so blessed!! 
Roughly 20 people have sent me their addressee or my lovely local people get them hand delivered!!!! 
Looking forward to more responses!! 
I am planning end of April a “Coffee/Cake and Stitch” event, (time and place to be confirmed) were all the Stitch sampler will there and all the local Stitchers! More info will follow!! 
I am off now to my currently favored Cafe in town, the Lost and Found Cafe, 
In Chapel Street, Penzance, for a bit of stitching! 
More soon and keep me posted!!!!!