Thursday, March 11, 2021

Squinting a Little

There can be no doubt, nor denying: This is my embroidery season. I am loving it. I am obsessed. It fills my thoughts and the hours, and makes me practically impervious to needless worry, fretting, doubt, or dread. Ok, it might be tipping the scales a bit much toward utterly oblivious, but desperate times, etc... And, I do try to mix things up a bit. I am still riding, there are washed and dried clothes, I have cooked, and even deleted emails. I have no doubt that the rest of my life, and others, will be spent reflecting on The Pandemic, how it went, what we suffered, what was lost, possibly gained, and how we coped. And in there we will face some sort of reckoning, I suppose, but in the meantime, I am making countless tiny jabs at fabric, pulling threads, and thinking the happiest thoughts I can muster.

These are some of the last of the embroideries I made for the little wood hoops... the hoops that aren't working out, afterall. So I have been turning them into felt brooches, or badges. And, I have to interject: These photos are kind of so good, they're terrible! My iPhone is working like it's here to collect forensic evidence! Do I need to put some vaseline on the lens?? I soften the light, but the phone can pull light out of a black hole. I step back, but the pieces are so small, they look lost in space if I don't get in closer. Anyway, try squinting a little, or pulling off your glasses... they need a softer focus.

Ok. Where was I?

Each tiny ratty, or bunny, or owl, was sewn around a tiny wood disc, and I didn't want to remove those, because I worried it would tear the fabric. It was a small accomplishment to attach them to the wool! But I was determined to not use glue... mostly because the glue is downstairs, and I am firmly ensconced on the bed, upstairs. It would seem lack of intertia is the mother of dogged determination! Anything else? I don't know. I do feel compelled, only slightly, to justify them, or have some plan for them. Maybe I will make a sash and wear them, like a veteran of domestic perils, arrayed in my medals and badges, for valor, for courage, for staying home, for blogging, for watching the planets and learning the names of stars, for ordering groceries on a computer, for remembering to floss. Maybe, it will motivate me... for instance, I could earn a badge for removing the small Christmas tree that is still on the kitchen counter. Then again, the young people have been discussing decorating it for Easter.
More recently, I tried small stitches on linen. I have a few swatches from my favorite dressmaker, and some metal pin and pendant settings. The challenge with stitching this small (under two inches) is that everything counts, and shows, meaning there is no forgiveness, room for error. I can embrace my affection for rustic, for perfectly imperfect, and my respect for finer work, and expert embroidery is evermore increasing. I feel humble and very much an amateur, which I am comfortable with, and then I share them on Instagram, and I am honestly so moved and touched by everyone's kind feedback! Seriously, people have been so encouraging about these little creations, and I know I am a long way from mastery, but... well, I can't say enough how nice it is to hear that I am heading in a promising direction, that they hold appeal for more than me, alone, more than just me, trying to keep calm and content. Thank you, friends... thank you.
Here's a wonder, for me... I have been doing things over. It wasn't so long ago, when I would say "good enough," even if it wasn't all that good. Or, if it wasn't all that good, I would throw in the towel, throw up my arms, and act as though practice and effort wouldn't help. Geoff has been such a good influence on me. So, now when I see something could be better made, or that it would be worthwhile to start over... I often do. Not always, but often, and that's a big difference!
The practice is paying off. I am learning more with each new attempt. But! I need a break from things small enough to hide under my thumb!
We've had rain! It's been too dry this winter. I am so glad rain finally came. And I am glad I looked up, prompting myself to notice wide views, and distances. It was refreshing to be reminded that the sky can be so compelling, that I love clouds, and weather. I sketched a golondrina, a swallow, on an apron, then picked a vibrant blue, a folklore blue, un azul de turquesa. This morning, I woke up thinking of an apron covered in things I like, symbols, tokens, birds, bunnies, constellations... stitched all over, like if I were tattooed with favorite images, but a mantle, to ward off worries, and beckon soft, good, hopeful things.


Teresa Kasner said...

I got a kick out of your idea of making badges to wear on a sash across your chest.. not a bad idea! I actually like the intricate focus of your phone. But I'm a detail oriented artist who sees things other people don't even give a second glance too. Your Easter egg piece would look good on your Easter tree. :-) I love the little squirrel.. have you thought of selling some of these on Etsy? The Bluebird is wonderful.. I am wondering if it's done or will you be filling it in some? The shape is really pretty. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

The bluebird got a little more filled in, and I've been adding more and more to the whole apron. I cannot say if I will ever go back to Etsy. There is some temptation, but I don't think it will work for me to be motivated by making money... I need to sharpen my business skills, first! So, what badges would you wear? Which would you like to earn?

Janece said...

There is something akin to ritual, devotion, and spiritual work to working with a needle and thread. I found it that way when I was sewing on my canvases. It is a meditation and a clearing.

The felt badges are whimsical and just lovely, Natalie!

Miyazaki clouds to the east -- they look extra special to me today -- (as I'm typing on my deck couch and there isn't a cloud in the sky). The horizon is getting smudgy with the evening marine layer coming in.

Golondrina? Wow! There really are no ordinary things or moments. ;)

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Maybe because sewing by hand, it's not something you can rush, and the time makes us mindful. I know that my sewing cannot work, won't be pretty if my thoughts are not pretty, gentle. I feel it in my breath, and this makes it spiritual work, doesn't it? Inspire. Inspira. Breath. Yes. Like a thread, it's all connected and bound together. Thank you for reflecting on this with me.
I hope we have more clouds and rain to look forward to, or at least I want to count on that marine layer coming in to sooth us, give us a new view and transition.