Textile Talks is a weekly series of online webinars co-sponsored by:
International Quilt Museum
Modern Quilt Guild, Quilt Alliance
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
Studio Art Quilt Associates
Surface Design Association
This week’s subject is the association between quilting and health. The authors of the book: Quilts and Health, Marsha MacDowell, Beth Donaldson, and Clare Luz will be presenting on Wednesday, May 11, 2021, from 2-3 ET. Registration is required but the talk is free. For those unable to make this in person, the Textile Talks are recorded and available on YouTube.
Radiant Light one of my chakra quilts is in the book along with many other beautiful and poignant quilts. Read more about the quilt and book in this post.
I hope you can join the webinar tomorrow for what I expect will be a very informative hour.
The last month of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 has been a very creative period for me. I’ve continued to work on the House and Home series and have now created 5 pieces. They are in various stages of completion. This small finished piece called: Golden Light began with the offcuts of a larger piece that may be the beginning of a new series.
The palette selection began with an arashi shibori-dyed cotton. The stripes move from soft to medium blue and then onto turquoise. There are also bands of gold and yellow in this piece.
I continue to use small strip inserts that reveal bits of colour. Texture is added with rows of stitching in variegated thread.
Golden Light is the late afternoon sun bathing the sky just as the light begins to fade. Warm and relaxing.
Resilient Stitch: Wellbeing and Connection in Textile Art is the title of Claire Wellesley-Smith’s newest book. I am anxiously awaiting my copy to arrive. I loved her previous book on stitching: Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art.
I read Wellesley-Smith’s book Slow Stitch near the beginning of my 100 day journey and have dipped into it many times since. Beautifully photographed with inspiration from other textile artists. One of the things that brings me joy is just touching this book – it is bound in a soft cloth. It is such a simple, elegant and perfect choice for a book about textiles, cloth and repurposing materials.
While I wait for my copy of Resilient Stitch to arrive, I will pull Slow Stitch off the shelf in my studio and slowly savour the photographs and admire the work within.
Book: Wellesley-Smith, Claire. Resilient Stitch: Wellbeing and Connection in Textile Art. London: Batsford, c2021.
Pulling out the fabric scraps and sorting until one catches my imagination. Pairing with others – keeping it monochromatic, or contrasting? What colour thread? Do I add more stitches, beads, or layer more fabric? Many decisions in each creative act.
I like using up all of the same fabrics and in doing so inadvertently creating a series.
I must admit to having noticed this before and have tried to vary the colours and fabrics between stitch meditations. Mostly because I thought it would be more interesting for those reading and looking at the pieces. I don’t know if that is important or should be important! This 100 Day Stitch Meditation Journey was not for others, but for me.
Article: Chelle Stein. What is Slowing? How to get started. September 30, 2020.
No matter how I try, my squares are simple. The shapes don’t overlap in a colourful display with many stitches holding each layer together. I look at others creating such beautiful pieces, admire the stitches and interplay of fabrics and textures. Yet, I can’t seem to create the same designs.
Looking back at the tenth month:
I do create simple, spare designs. Just a few pieces of fabric stitched together with a few basic stitches. Harmonious, elegant, quiet, and clean. And, always colourful and of course, restful while working on their construction.
Short periods of time, capturing small bits of fabric that would have been discarded. Arranged into pleasing displays and held together with stitches and memories. Stitch meditations that conjure a specific time – just yours.
It took me a long while to get to the point in the hibiscus flower quilt that I was finally able to make decisions on the background. Meaning that I can continue to stitch more of the quilt top together.
I thought at the beginning of this project that I would use neutral linens and cotton fabrics in very low volume prints. These would become the background for machine and hand stitching to create interest.
It wasn’t just the background causing me setbacks. There were a few vines twisting themselves around the flowers and I knew what I wanted them to look like but finding the fabric in my stash wasn’t easy. I tried many combinations of colours as you can see from just a couple of photos below.
With the guidance from my friend who also taught me this technique, I was finally able to make some decisions.
So, after a few years of working on this UFO and then storing it away, then pulling it out again, it’s finally finished! Or almost finished. The top is stitched in one piece and is now waiting for machine stitching to give it depth and texture.
I have put it aside once more to give me time to think about this final step. More decisions to come!
One of the questions I forgot to address during the Q&A after my 1st ever Virtual Trunk Show with the Erin Village Quilters was about stitch meditations. I have been stitching albeit very slowly. This 100 Day Stitch Meditation Journey was to be a project that I could work on without becoming stressed. So, if it didn’t happen every day that was OK. There were supposed to be 2 evenings a week – Tuesday and Thursday that I was going to sit quietly and hand stitch. I assembled a kit of hand-dyed fabric scraps, thread, needles, pins, 5 inch squares of muslin to be used as the base. All of these were placed in a large plastic bin that I could pick up and move around.
“2019 will be a year of slowing down and being more productive. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but my hope is that planning, prioritizing and scheduling will keep me motivated in creating artwork and spark some new ideas.” — December 27, 2018.
Well, slowing down and taking time to reflect is happening. This pandemic has really changed how, and when I do any of my stitching! Sitting quietly to reflect is so very difficult during this time. My mind can’t settle, it flits over a million things. The constant barrage of news is distracting and causing stress. I don’t have the news or any TV programs on while I am at home alone, but when my husband is working from home it’s on all day long.
There is more order and routine now when working from home. It was an adjustment!
Now, there is more space in my mind to be able to create. I am reaffirming my intention and determination to continue with stitch meditations. I have completed more than half of the 100 I set out to do. I am not giving up!
One trunk show cancellation has ended well this year – it’s turned into a month long stocking of my hand-dyed fabric, scarves a few quilts and some ready to give gifts! Make1 a studio, shop, and community space in Guelph was to have hosted a trunk show this month but instead it will be hosting a selection of my snow dyed items.
Jo the owner, curator and maker is featuring Makers and their items for the month of November. Her store is full of modern quilt fabrics, hand dyed yarns, and a space to create. Follow Make1 on instagram at: @make1guelph where pictures of beautiful fabrics as well as what is happening in the shop are posted. Love the Fat Quarter Friday feature!
This is a detail of the quilt I’ve been working on for a while. I finished it the night before I delivered it to Make1 so there is no photo of the completed work and no name! It will be in the shop with Atmosphere, Cosmos and a couple of smaller pieces. So when you drop in have a look at it and let me know what would be a great title for this one. I’ve been calling it the Purple quilt. Descriptive but not evocative, plus I have other purple quilts so definitely not the best. LOL!