Sometimes I just need to stitch-it-out. A little phrase or snippet will lodge itself in my consciousness and I need to stitch it just to put it out of my head.
Today, it was a little hastily written “I have no time.” from Evariste Galois that popped up. The history of mathematics is one of those topics that I get a little nerdy about. You know how some people will go off if you tell them that Edison was the best thing ever — and they’ll tell you no, it was actually Tesla who was the bad-ass? I get like that sometimes about mathematicians (like don’t tell me Newton invented Calculus).
Galois is one who was a young genius, and also active in politics in France in the early 1800s. He died at 20* in a duel over a woman. And the night before furiously wrote down proofs, but he ran out of time. “I have no time.” is but one of the things he put to paper that night.
I stitched it as a reminder that while it might seem like my life is a harried scramble at times, it really isn’t. Taking a breather is perfectly fine and relaxing is a good idea.
* At 20! And he was such a genius that the other mathematicians at the time couldn’t understand his proofs. In the end, he invented a whole new branch of mathematics. I cannot fathom being that smart so young.
For one of my Christmas presents, my lovely husband bought me and a friend train tickets to New York and tickets to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so I could see the Interwoven Globe exhibit.
It was so good.
I was glad that I could get really really close to the textiles and examine them in detail. (At the Smithsonian here in DC recently, I got a little too close to a few needlepoints and set of an alarm. Oops.)
Some of my very favorites (embroidery) were: A Mexican Wedding Coverlet, a crewel Dress for A Young Boy, and an Embroidered Sampler (note that it has Harem scenes!). Other favorites (non-embroidery) were: this Lace Patterned Silk, and this Bizarre Silk.
We also saw the Julia Margaret Cameron photos (which is also closing soon). They were really beautiful as well.
The museum is so huge that it was hard figuring out where we were and what direction to go next — especially when we both got hungry. We took a walk through some of the impressionist paintings before leaving, and also peeked at some Roman sculptures and a few Egyptian things before we decided that food was becoming really necessary.
Afterwards, we strolled through Central Park and braved the crowds down Fifth Avenue past the shops and to Rockefeller Center to see the tree. Then after ducking into a coffee shop for a bit, rested our feet, regrouped, and braved more crowds to get dinner at Shake Shack and then back on the train home.
But not before I snapped a photo of the Empire State building all lit up green and red.
I read a lot of things here on the internet. I have over 140 blogs currently in my feed reader (and another 40 or so that I read on occasion). So, it is not unusual for me to read something that I disagree with. It is, however, unusual for me to read something (especially a crafty something) that gets me really fired up.* But it happened the other day. I let myself get mad, wrote a long email to myself ranting and stating my case. And then I made this (warning: curse word ahead, click to continue…).
I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a “modern” embroiderer (more on this topic in the next few days). I think that sometimes there is a tendency to view ourselves in the present as the only ones capable of coming up with a modern, non-traditional take on a traditional skill. But this is obviously not the case.
One of my favorite movements in art is abstract expressionism. I’m not just talking about Jackson Pollock (who is awesome), but also Kandinsky, de Kooning and Kline and all the others. Which got me thinking… I bet there were some abstract expressionist fiber artists. And what do you know, I happened upon the amazing work of Mariska Karaz. (Seriously, just scroll through the gallery of her work. It’s awesome.)
There happen to be several works that are owned by museums nearby (the Smithsonian and the Baltimore Museum of Art) — but frustratingly, none are currently on view.
So, I have started on a piece that should (hopefully) look a bit like this Karaz piece. It’s very strongly influenced — and I’m using a Hungarian cookbook page as the base. I’ve got all my holes poked and am planning out exactly where to start. It’s good to have something in the works this time of year that’s for me as I am also working on a few gifts.
Whenever the seasons change, I feel a pull to read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard.
With each read, I find something different that sticks with me. And this time, I felt compelled to purposefully stitch a passage. I wanted to really take in the full meaning, and so I chose cross stitch (so I would pay full attention to each letter) on a piece of Aida I had floating around. I didn’t plan much. I pulled out an alphabet that was simple, and not too large. The size of the fabric dictated the width. There is room at the top and the bottom and I plan to add some light blue and/or silvery trees.
With the approach of fall, I find myself wishing for sweaters and fires. As it turns to winter, I always dream of my favorite January one year in college where I had my apartment to myself (two room mates had gone home for Winter Break), and while I did have a job, the hours were not heavy. So I read, and wrote. It was perfect.
As winter approaches this year, I want to keep this thought in mind. So I plan to finish this up in plenty of time and keep it within sight.