Two stitch meditation squares featuring shades of green and turquoise. I see warm Caribbean waters, palm trees and miles of sandy beaches! Wishing I could escape the cold, dark days.
The current situation in the world has made relaxing and stitching thoughtfully even more important. But, also more difficult. Your mind has difficulty focusing. I find that focusing by listening to a podcast can help. Two of the podcasts I’ve been listening to deal with art, artists and the business of creating and selling art. They are conversations between friends and interviews with other creatives. What are you listening to?
Podcast: Laura Horn Art Podcast – Helping artist to build their skills, confidence and creative style.
Podcast: Art Juice – The podcast for artists, aspiring creatives and art lovers
Why does time move more quickly as you get older. I find myself running out of time to do the things I really enjoy. But, I am finding time to work on other (unnecessary) projects and daily housework more and more. So, I spend less time on the 100 Day Stitch Meditation Project than I had expected when I first started. It certainly hasn’t become a focus of my down time! Read about the 2 Argentinian artists who have made their entire life about hand embroidery and sharing everything in their lives together. The projects they hand embroider take years to complete!
The other article I read from Selvedge Magazine is about an exhibition of work: “of seven pioneering women who went against all established norms to create some of the richest, most diverse and international public collections of textiles in the UK today.” So many beautiful pieces of hand work!
Blogpost: Hewitt, Bonnie Burstein. Argentinian Artists Stitch Their World Together at Lux. Encinitas Advocate. 27 Jan. 2020
Traditional meditations are not easy to explain or learn. It’s a process of bringing your mind back to noticing your breath when it wanders. This is one explanation that I can understand. I know my mind wanders – did I lock the door, what should I make for dinner, do I need groceries …. on and on until I’ve planned the entire meal and cleaned up too!
So too, I’ve let my time and energy for stitch meditations wander away from me. There are things out of our control that impact our lives. It’s important not to give up though, to stop wandering and settle down – back to noticing each stitch. Again and again!
Article: Vercillo, Kathryn. 5 Craft Therapy Books to Learn About Handmade Healing
Bibliography: Kathryn Vercillo is a professional writer who also has a Masters in Psychological Studies. Her expertise is writing at the intersection of crafts and mental health. Kathryn is the author of several books on this topic including Crochet Saved My Life.
I am creating the 6 inch squares that will be placed in each corner of the sashing and border of the quilt. This means that I am almost, almost ready to start making a sandwich of each quadrant in preparation of machine quilting.
Cutting sashing and border fabric
Stitching the cornerstones or bosses
Stitching the border to quadrants
Stitching part of the sashing to each quadrant
Pressing the backing and top
Making a sandwich
Machine quilting each quadrant
Joining each quadrant to make the finished top
More quilting in border and sashing
In the photo below I am still working on the triangle shapes and trying to decide if they need a border. Of course they did! There was more work and stitching ahead!
The photo shows the drafting process to make six inch square mosaic tiles that will be placed at the intersection of border and sashing.
I wasn’t planning on such a large quilt. I guess this is what happens when you design as you go! It has evolved to be what it needs to be.
The colours of this stitch meditation are rich and luscious! The hand dyed hot pink varying slightly making it just a little bit more interesting than a flat colour. Layers of black knots tying it in with the darker gray cotton. The piece of repurposed silk sari fabric has a shimmer of pink while also tying into the lighter grey. It is tied together with the hand dyed pink perle cotton. I don’t usually sit back and study the piece I’ve stitched to analyze why it works. Having the time and perspective makes you realize that following your instincts can lead you in the right direction.
I am fortunate that a friend gave me a bag of silk and upholstery fabrics that I have been using in some stitch meditations. They are so gorgeous and often times reversible — the colour varying slightly from front to back. These delicate fabrics are precious snippets
There are quite a few articles about the benefits of slowing down your thoughts with traditional meditation. For many people mentioning the word meditation brings about a negative reaction. I’ve heard: I can’t do it, it doesn’t work for me, I’ve tried it but I wasn’t successful and so many more. Meditation was and is a difficult concept for me to grasp. Quietly lying down or sitting comfortably and trying to empty your mind! How is that even possible! No way I can’t do it! Who can! I’ve had only a very few times I think I can say that meditating worked, maybe. That’s why having having something more specific to focus on — like a hand stitching project makes the idea of meditation a little easier to understand. I know that I’ve lost track of time, my discomfort, and those around me (child and husband) when I focused on my sewing. I am in my happy place — making. An article I discovered by Monika Auch a Naturopathic doctor and artist talks about “creating with your hands makes you happy”. She has an inventive project where you stitch your brain!
Stitch your Brain an international embroidery project: “Creating with your hands makes you happy. Embroidery, knitting, weaving, crochet and other craft activities release feelings of well-being in our brains.” Is this what a successful meditation session feels like? You can map what your brain looks like to you. Join the project and embroider your brain on a printed canvas using: yarn, threads, beads, with any types of stitching, anything! Finished pieces are on tour throughout Europe and some are on display on the website. Meditate on your brain – such an interesting project!
Video: Monika Auch 25 April 2017 lecture on – Art Knowledge: our senses in art and scientific experiment (in Dutch)
Website: Stitch Your Brain – is a project and study by Monika Auch, visual artist and medical doctor (n.p.) about the intelligence of our hands and the effect of creative making on health and well-being.