This Memorial Day weekend, we don’t have any big plans. We had some family to visit yesterday afternoon but, that’s it. No parties, no softball games, no running the kids around. Nothing but free time. It took me a little bit to work up the nerve — this flower was inside this Hungarian cookbook (and on this page, even). Once I stuck it down (I use these scrapbooking adhesive squares) I just sucked it up and went for it. It’s very much not close to done, but I’m happy with how it’s going so far, particularly the bits around and over the flower.
I realized the other day that I haven’t done much stitching in the past few weeks. It’s been a bit on the busy side in my day-to-day life as of late. I resolved to correct that last night. I’ve been thinking lately a lot about what is in the spaces between things. Meaning, things that don’t fit into any one category. People that cannot be categorized. Things that live in the cracks.
I started this without much of a plan. I knew I was going to piece together scraps from the paper quilt, and I knew I wanted to use the blank (or mostly blank) sections. But that was it. I tried to challenge myself a little bit by not sketching anything anywhere. Not on the back, not on another paper, no planning of where the holes were going to be, just to go for it.
In the end, I’m pretty pleased. Once those seed stitched circles happened, I felt like I was on the right track.
I’m hoping to do more of these improvisational, smaller type of pieces. It feels good to just start off running without knowing where things are going.
This piece is one that I’ve been working on (mostly in the evenings) for a few weeks now. The poems are from the book with the embossed pages and the engravings. Most of the poems are elegies and have the saddest titles: Death of an Infant, A Father to His Motherless Children, Baptism of an Infant at its Mother’s Funeral. I wanted to really highlight these titles. So I picked 24, cut them into 3.5″ squares, sewed them together by hand, eyeballing the “seams” and hoping to keep it pretty square. In the end, it more or less ended up pretty even. Then I added some feather stitching — which was actually the hardest part, I poked all the holes in one go (making a pattern of sorts with a tracing paper overlay), and keeping them straight was not easy. I didn’t get it perfect, but I don’t mind.
It’s been a while since I got that perfect feeling of yes, this is what needs to be made with this exact piece of paper. In this case, I had a real actual sense of what I wanted to make. Usually, I sort of just wing it and see if it works. This was the third tree that got made to go with the roots. I am glad I was persistent and stuck with the idea I had in my head.
The title comes from a line in a Dylan song — You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere. I’ve been thinking a lot about the music I grew up listening to. In this case it was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band cover version of the song.
One thing always leads to making another thing.
And already this page has led to me starting on two more pages. But no photos of those until it’s more than holes in paper.
My shoulder has been a little wobbly again lately (as it is wont to do), so the burlap has been put on hold, it requires too much arm movement.