Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Waiting

What do you do with your waiting time? Those riding times - in the car, during a flight, on the train or a ferry ride even - when you're the passenger and can only sit and hope to reach your destination soon.


Let's not forget those other waiting times when your children or loved ones are engaged in an activity that you are present at, but cannot participate in. Right now, it's hip hop and piano lesson for me. My urchins aren't aware, but I so want to be in that hip hop class. Shhh.....don't tell.


For me, waiting = stitching. Hand stitching on black cotton using DMC threads. The stitching began back in 2006 after taking Dorothy Caldwell's workshop at Peter's Valley Craft Center and continues. 


The first finished piece became the covers for cards.


The next 2 pieces are in the studio...waiting for me to decide what the next step is in their journey.


I played with their perspectives, mine really, not long ago by laying a mat atop them to see what effect cropping would have.


This latest piece was completed on the flight home from Jamaica. It measures 43" x 13" and was started back in the fall with the beginning of hip hop and piano lessons after school.

I stand back and think that the whole is wonderful, but it's when I move in closer, get a bit more intimate with it that sections sing and beg me to single them out.

Still...I'm just not sure what to do with pieces. What would you do?

25 comments:

  1. i understand this completely - each stitch marks a moment. alone they represent a small piece of time that your were present, attending to the stitch. in each moment, we are new. as a whole, they are the passage of time, a representation of feelings. it is powerful. i would frame them.

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    1. Your comments are always so eloquent and insightful. The newest piece represents moments of my life from September 2014 until April 2015, mostly spent waiting while the girls were in lessons, but some was done on early winter mornings after I'd awoke and the house was quiet and some on a flight.

      I look at the whole and am amazed to see that chunk of my life so boldly stated. Still...it's the details. These will be displayed somehow. I just need to decide how.

      Thank you so much for visiting and adding your thoughts. Enjoy!

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  2. It depends ... is this art that you wish to preserve? Then by all means frame or otherwise mount them to prevent wear and tear.

    But if they are pieces that are languishing in drawers having not quite made the "art" cut, then I would say use them ... create quotidian cloth like towels, placemats, or pillows ... whatever will enable you and your family to see them, touch them, and fully enjoy them on a daily basis. And if they should start to ravel and fray, then patch them or use them as patches ... a boro-style repurposing to extend their presence in your home.

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    1. Good question Liz. I do want to preserve these pieces. There's a notion of an exhibition niggling at the back of my mind...

      Enjoy!

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  3. Love this stitching on black, not sure how I would use it though, table runner, cushions? How do you manage to sew on planes, we are not allowed needles on planes in case we turn into terrorists and poke somebody in the eye with them, not even tapestry needles which don't have sharp points.

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    1. Needles and scissors less than 3 inches long are allowed on airplanes over here. I make sure the scissors are in plain sight and just stitch away. As yet, no one has seemed concerned and several have showed interest. Then again, maybe my gray hair and short stature lend a less threatening air? Enjoy!

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  4. When I did Dorothy Caldwell's class last September we planned to use the stitched black cloth to wrap a book in. So now I am pursuing book making workshops.

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    1. When I took Dorothy's class, she had a piece of cloth that a friend had stitched - purple cotton with white stitching. If I'm remembering correctly, the friend and her husband had made a cross country car trip and when not driving, the friend stitched. It was row after row of the running stitch, irregular in length and crooked because of being done in the car. I fell in love with it and began my own stitching.

      Book making workshops - sounds heavenly. Enjoy!

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  5. ooo yesssssss! I totally 'get' this..... my waiting time (beside pools and tracks and fields and hospitals and music practice rooms) has been spent knitting --- 3 jumpers completed in the last year.... I have been tempted to stitch as a change of pace --- your post is sooooooo inspiring jennifer, I think I just might xxxxx

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    1. Oh! I can just see you now...stitching away during all your waiting time and creating the most extraordinary pieces. One continuous piece for the season or a piece for each child? What fun!

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  6. These are totally gorgeous Jennifer. Particularly like the colours in the ones with the orange and yellow which you said ended up as cards. Love the long piece too and other than working these into books or letting them stand alone in their sheer beauty - I have no idea. You have such a talent however for bringing bits and pieces of your fabrics together I know you will do something stunning. x

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    1. Thank you Susan. I suppose this is another of those times when it's the process that is so captivating that I just can't stop...like my season of rusting cottons. At some point, I stand back, realize what/how much has been created and ask "What now?". That seems to be the tricky part...figuring out the next step. I keep telling myself to keep it simple. Simple says to frame the stitching or stretch it on a canvas. Most likely, I'll listen to Simple. Stay tuned!

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  7. I love the whole and then getting to move in close for the details...a measurement of your time? Can you picture specific moments when you look at specific parts?

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    1. Can I picture specific moments? Oddly enough, no.

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  8. Gorgeous....and a brilliant means of noting time. It makes me hear music

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    1. Music? Goodness. That has me looking at these pieces in whole new way. May I ask what type of music you hear?

      And thank you for the lovely comment!

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  9. I like the entire piece, would look great framed. It would be a piece to observe and be inspired or for meditation.

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  10. I'd put the whole piece on the wall and enjoy the pattern and contrast ... It's a great ide ... Stitching to fill those idle moments.

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    1. That's what I'm doing so far - the piece is merely up on one of the boards in the studio. It looks much better in person than I managed to photograph. Enjoy!

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  11. I found you by way of searching about color washing fabrics to get antique looking muted tones. I would use them as the same thing I'm wanting to dye fabrics for...cuffs(bracelet). Cut them into strips then put them atop wool felt or other scrap fabric, preferably interestingly dyed & stitch those together. The types of cuffs I'm talking about can be seen by looking up SparrowSalvage on Etsy...in her sold section you'll find many insane works of wonder...as she's stopped making them for now so no active listings. Of course the style would take a different direction with this stitching as the base.

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    1. That's a great Jessica. Thank you!

      Welcome to my blog. If you're looking for ways to make fabrics look antique, have you tried tea dyeing them? Just plain old black tea works wonderfully. Other types yield different colors, of course, and if you're a tea drinker, you can always enjoy a cuppa while the fabrics dyeing. Enjoy!

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  12. you strike a note with me as well - stitching while waiting for music lessons etc. Now that I dont wait for lessons to finish anymore I still stitch - I need to do a bit every day. I have lots of stitched pieces languishing about, as I haven't made that 'display' decision yet. on so many levels I hesitate to stretch/put behind glass, as one loses the integral quality of the cloth - the tactility

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    1. Putting textiles behind glass still seems a bit like sacrilege to me so I understand your feelings. I have played with putting a 4" x 6" mat over the piece to see what a framed section might look like, but have yet to take it to the next step. Most likely, I'll either figure out a way to display the whole piece or will crop it to stretch over 4" x 4" canvases. The small, intimate size works well with the stitching.

      Have you showed your stitching on your blog? Need to stroll over and visit. Enjoy!

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  13. The stitches are absolutely beautiful Jennifer! I couldn't help but think that if it were me creating such beauties while I waited, I'd create some sort of journal documenting those wait times for each of the stitches and for whom you lovingly waited. I'm much older so I'm often thinking of things I can create to enjoy now but to leave for my loved ones to enjoy & hopefully reminisce when I'm gone.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful work. You've definitely inspired me!

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