Here in Ohio, the coronavirus has caused a multitude of event cancellations, and the list seems to grow by the hour. I’m not going to get on a political soapbox about the response to the virus, other than to suggest that if you suddenly have some spare time due to event, school or work closure, take the opportunity to learn something new.
Turn off the TV, turn off the news, get off the internet for a little while, (after you finish reading this post, of course!) get out your needle and thread, or pencil and sketchbook, or any tools or supplies that you’ve had sitting and make something! If you’re like me, you might have a stack or two of craft books that are begging to be read. Pick out a book, open it and start a project from one of those books. Think about the creative skills that you have mastered, and take some time to teach it to someone else. Making something or expressing yourself creatively is a great escape from the troubles of the world. With, that I am off to escape from my laptop and get lost in some stitching.
Every time that I learn a new stitch, I try it out first on some bit of scrap fabric. Over the past year, a 9 x 10” piece of fabric for test stitching has been floating around my hand stitching nook. It resurfaced a few days ago, and I almost tossed it out. Here it is:
After having it sitting on top of a pile of projects for a few days, I think I will hang on to it. I am really enjoying the sampler look of it, while at the same time it shows the randomness that was inherent in its creation. Adding to the long list of things that I want to make, I’d love to do a small series of pieces with many sections of different hand stitches. I could have a lot of fun with this.
Take a look at these three small wall hangings.
What do you think? Does one “speak” to you more than the other two?
These are not my latest creations, I made them in 2014 when I set out to complete all twelve of the design exploration workshops in A Fiber Artist’s Guide to Color & Design by Heather Thomas (Landauer, 2011). You can definitely see how I was influenced by the collages of Kurt Schwitters.
The one at top left has been hanging in my sewing room, the other two have been in a suitcase, bumping along to the quilt shows, hoping to find new homes. I dug them out today while looking for something else, and I am thinking of adding more hand stitching to the two that have been packed away. I have since learned many more embroidery stitches, and looking at these early pieces, I think I could improve them a bit. I don’t want to spend much more time on them, and I definitely do not want to make a habit of re-doing older pieces, but I really like this group, and I want to give myself a week to see what I can do with them. In the very near future, I am going to start over with the workshops from the book. I want to get through all twelve lessons in 2020.
I have been having a discussion with myself lately about all of these daily or weekly projects that I am working on now, or that I have attempted in the past. Daily creative projects are great ways to discipline oneself into a creative habit, try new things, work out design problems and generate new ideas. However, I have been taking much longer than I should to complete my daily efforts. I get so wrapped up in the little daily things that I am not putting time into bigger projects that will be for sale or get entered into art shows.
The little daily stuff is just for me, which is still important, but not the only thing in my creative world. I don’t want to give them up, as the index card challenge has been a great learning experience, and I want to complete the past years that I started – that was a goal I set for myself, and there are so many goals that I have not met. I wonder how much more I would have grown creatively by now had I known about these little daily art doses in college or even high school.
Since I have not been stitching at all lately, I picked up the 4×4″ daily project again to get back into the needle and thread. Here are all the squares that I have done since attempting the challenge back in September:
Some winners, some not, I have learned from them all. Now I am behind again on the index card goal, and I managed to bring home five more books from the library to read. I am very glad I have all of these things to do.
Tomorrow is the last official day of the index-card-a-day challenge, I am indeed going to fall short on finishing 61 cards in 61 days. I’m still going to finish the last few, just a few days late! After I get the last few cards made, I will pick up were I left off on my attempts at the challenge in 2017 and 2018. My goal is to get five cards done a week until the gaps are all filled in.
I have learned a lot by doing the ICAD challenge, and I have gotten some new ideas for art quilts. Some of the prompts were really tough for me to complete, as I had great difficulty in coming up with an idea. Along the way , I learned a couple of new words, tried new art supplies and learned how to (or not to) combine various art media. In the next couple of weeks, I will feature a few individual cards and discuss the process in creating them, and show a few that have inspired me.
Here are week seven’s efforts:
The prompts were direction, pool, wabi-sabi, amethyst, turnpike, topographic and billboard.
Check back on Thursday for a quilt show announcement.