I’ve found help with the mechanics of this website and we are almost finished. Meanwhile, I’ve been sewing up a storm and finding venues to help me send the work out into the world.
Stitching, any type of fiber art really, is new to me. It is all slow stitching because at the age of 77 I’m very clumsy and awkward with a needle and thread. My right hand, my dominant hand, was injured in a fall a few years ago and the middle finger never set right. The injury has made it harder for me to write and draw but I am still OK with a paintbrush.
A lot of my time is spent undoing tangles in the thread which slows me down. Most of the time I can avoid frustration by reminding myself that life is like that and of my sense accomplishment when I can untie my own emotional knots. Slow stitching helps in that healing process. And, to be perfectly honest, sometimes I just accept the tangles in the back and move on even though that goes against my “waste not, want not” programming. As you can tell, I’ve never read a book or taken a class on this. The best advice on stitching I ever got was from someone in an online stitching group. She said, “If it isn’t working, add more thread.”
As for the slow stitching process, it does take on a life of its own for me. I love using up scraps of material, yarns from knitting projects, and even my calligraphy and/or Japanese mulberry printmaking papers. I have a huge stash. I have enlarged other people’s work on my computer screen often enough to know that emulating the mechanical perfection of machine stitching is not a goal in slow stitching.
The handmade by a human look is very beautiful and exciting to me. And my nature itself is that slow and steady one. Everything I do is done meditatively. It used to drive my mother crazy to watch me do the dishes. I’ve done things mindfully since I was a little girl and I never lost that ability as I’ve aged.
After three days of my computer class I felt too overwhelmed to try to create anything. Yesterday I reminded myself that the making is what gives me joy.
Today, as I look at the spools of thread waiting for me to get back to work, I feel connected to generations of women who used whatever simple materials they had on hand to beautify their surroundings. I am inspired.
After a restful weekend I started my online WordPress training class, given by Julia Taylor, with Coding. My goal is to improve this website for you.
I followed along pretty well but need to practice before tomorrow’s class to really set the information in my mind. Surprisingly, I don’t feel totally overwhelmed because things felt more familiar than I expected.
I’ve been working steadily on my quilt square and finished it today. To recap:
I noticed a Palo Verde tree in the CVS parking lot as I was waiting in the drive-through pharmacy line to pick up a prescription. I photographed it and, since the two upward reaching branches seemed to be bowing, decided to use it as my image for a contribution to a quilt being assembled in the UK to express gratitude to my personal heroes of this pandemic. It has taken me longer than I expected to embroider the 6″ square but I think I captured the essence of the tree.
I’ll make a thank you card from this photo of the embroidery piece for the people who work at the CVS who have come through to help keep us healthy and will tell them they are included in the quilt.
I worked on my quilt piece today and am happy with it so far. The Palo Verde tree looks as if it is bowing so it seems a perfect tribute.
We had a lot of errands today so I feel a little behind schedule. Realistically, there is no deadline so any pressure is self-created. I need to get back into my flow.
I started drawing, and then embroidering my quilt square this morning and am making good progress. I am depicting a palo verde tree that I noticed and photographed while waiting in line to pick up a prescription from the drive-in pharmacy.
I chose this tree image from their parking lot to honor the people keeping our CVS pharmacy open and functioning. They are among many heroes making a difference in our lives. The 6″ square may take another day or two to finish. Before I send it to the UK to be added to the Heros quilt I’ll make a thank you card from the image to bring to the pharmacy.
My goal of getting my work out to be seen is being met in unexpected ways. It seems as if my go-with-the-flow attitude is helpful. Yesterday I mentioned wanting to get back to working on this website and, almost immediately after posting, noticed a free course on navigating WordPress. I signed up and was so excited that I showed up this morning right at 9 AM. Unfortunately it doesn’t start until next Monday.
I also discovered a call for embroidered quilt squares that I decided to answer. I spent most of my art time today planning my contribution to The Heros Embroidered Patchwork Quilt, a UK project to honor people, places and things that have made a positive difference during the pandemic.
Always running in the background of my mind are ideas and evaluations of possible solutions to issues with my fiber self-portrait.
All of yesterday and through the entire night I worked on my self-portrait to get it ready for today’s submission deadline. I finally decided it had too much promise to be rushed into a debut so at about 5:30 AM I did a quick colored pencil sketch on black paper, submitted it in place of the one I’ve been working on, and went to bed.
After a few hours of sleep I still think waiting was the right decision. Hopefully, after a day of rest, I can get back to tinkering with this website.
I’ve worked most of the day on my self portrait but it was a disorienting day. The stress from the pandemic and conflicting information coming from. all sides is having an effect. I will have to regain my balance so my pleasure in creating can continue to compensate for the chaos around me.
My self-portrait is one of those works that has taken on a life of its own and has had me jumping through hoops today to keep up.
When my subconscious takes over this way it is fun to recognize the connections as they reveal themselves. More will be said on that topic later in the process.
The piece has evolved into something more authentic than the subtle and sophisticated idea I started out with. Right now I think I will be able to make it work. We shall see.
I spent my art time today gathering and washing material to start a fiber self-portrait. Can’t wait to actually get started tomorrow.
There was a death in my sister’s family so I spent quite a bit of time on the phone.
Coming soon: My series of 7 fiber pieces done for the online TextileArtist.org community stitch challenge. It was started at the end of March as a way to help artists use time spent “sheltering in place” creatively.
Today I am beginning to complete some of the work that I only had time to bring to the point where I could share a photograph before the new week’s challenge was issued.
Each challenge was designed by a well known textile artist from the UK. 18,000 people eventually joined the Facebook group. I loved the encouragement and interaction provided by newbies like me and seasoned pros alike. We were pretty much all sad to end after the 7th week but many are now catching up as I am.
Success today. I was able to create a gallery and submit my 8 pieces to the Hubble Telescope 30th Birthday celebration. That was my first goal for this site.
I didn’t do it alone. SiteGround, my friend Rhy, and Bethany at the ESA all helped. It is nice to think about moving forward now.
A quiet, restful day after a nice outdoor family breakfast (with appropriate social distancing and safety measures) gave me a minute to feel grateful that the desire to exhibit my Hubble telescope Inspired fiber artwork got me to finally tackle setting up my own website.
I’ve had a little feedback from family and friends that has encouraged me to keep moving forward. I love making art but in my mind it is meant to be shared with others so hopefully its reach may increase when I am fully up and running here.
Today was productive in terms of learning how to get rid of things I didn’t want or need on this site and I was able to upload photos of the 8 fiber art pieces that make up my Hubble Telescope Series. There is still a long way to go before I have pages that look professional and are easy to navigate.
Tomorrow will be a day of rest but I may relax by looking at some of my artist friend’s sites for ideas. Monday I plan to call the experts on WordPress and SiteGround for help with fine tuning everything – and with setting up hashtags, links and more.
I am in the process of organizing this site to showcase my art. At first most of what was shown was from the design template instead of my work or my words.
Yesterday I began setting up this portfolio to share my art for various exhibition opportunities. Wishing I had done it before the COVID-19 sheltering in place became necessary so I could have found someone to help me through the design phase.
I do recognize that I learn best through hands on exploration but it can be frustrating.