Tuesday, 9 February 2021

A week of blogging - Tuesday - a day of stitch

 Every so often someone asks me: what is your typical day like, or, how do you get things done? I have no easy answer because each day is different. I do have certain routines and I do like to give each day a main focus. It will be a painting day, or an admin day, or a stitch-focused day. I plan weeks ahead of me but am flexible: if I wake up and decide no I just don't feel like painting today, I have learned not to force things. I am glad I am not a 'one thing focus' creative person. There is much merit in the idea of doing one thing very well, I am all for that if it works, but I am a multi-faceted creative type, who feels much better if she can not do the same thing every day.

To give some idea of what my day might be like, I have kept track of things today and am typing this as the sun goes down at just before 5pm. 

My alarm goes off at 6am and I get up for an hour of quiet reading. 



I am just on the last few pages of Ghostland by Edward Parnell. It has been a very interesting read and I will say more about it on Sunday when I share a few book reviews. At about seven I make breakfast for my daughter and I. She is a key worker and has worked throughout this pandemic. It is good to share some time with her before she heads out. Then I get myself ready for the day, make an attempt at some housework and make sure my son has breakfast. He is at home at the moment, as his voluntary work is put on hold due to the current restrictions. 

Before I start work, I check the bird feeding station in the garden. It has been an extremely icy, snowy day.




A few glimpses of the frozen garden. Below is sempervivum covered with icy snow.


Then I begin my day of stitch. Fortunately my head and my plan agree that stitching will be a good idea today. So I start with sorting a box of fabrics, to see just how much I have of things and to put scraps into a separate bag. It's one of those tasks I will put off because I must get on and make something - but I am getting slowly better and realising this is all part of the creative process! 



I discover some fabric hearts I had forgotten I had made - if time allows I will get these finished sometime. I have plenty of fabric but always need more.....

My work space for stitching: 


This space is where I sit and draw with my sewing machine. I made the green interior little cupboard with drawers last year (using card and paper). On the walls are pictures to inspire and things I enjoy looking at when I am not working. My sewing machine is an Elna purchased many years ago, perhaps eighteen. I call her Margery. She has been a very good friend to me but I know there will come a day when she might not be so happy to do hours of stitching, so I try to pace things and keep her cleaned.



I have not stitched for a few weeks, so that I can make new pieces with a fresh eye. It is good to take a break from it but I am happy to be back at the machine today. Fortunately, it seems Margery and I work well together and soon a new character emerges on the linen. I don't make any drawings or detailed marks on the fabric. My idea to make a brooch is changed when I realise I have the opportunity (space) to make this into a slightly larger portrait - about 9cm tall. So this piece will be a rectangular work and I will eventually add a fabric border.



Ideas continue to appear on the linen. As soon as I start to stitch the tiny supporting cast I feel quite happy - the tiny faces always make me smile. I am often asked to explain the meaning behind these tiny faces that appear in nearly all my machine stitched pieces but I am not sure I have ever given a satisfactory answer - not because I try to be vague or mysterious! They came to me years ago and now are like old friends, some faces or types of faces have become so familiar to be and in ways they are like family, they are memories, echoes, so many stories all converging. They do not take themselves too seriously and remind me to do the same.


More detailed work in progress.... these things take time. There is a lot of stopping and starting. I take regular breaks so that I do not strain my eyes or neck. I do not hunch over my machine these days, but try to remind myself to sit with good posture, get up and walk about the room etc... I have coffee and lunch with my son and he takes a look at what I have been working on. Nearly always his response is: that's very nice, keep going....


Then in the afternoon, having made good progress on the machine stitched piece (though not completed yet - that will be for another day) I give myself some time to get on with a few knots pieces. These are hand stitched and I work on them in the evenings, quite often, because it's something I can whilst listening to a podcast or music. I enjoy the tactile quality of working with wool and knots. I will share more about these pieces on Friday.....

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my day. Tomorrow I hope will be a painting day - and I will share some photos from my painting desk with you.

And finally: just a note to say there is no shop update this week. I will be updating my shop on Wednesday 17th at the usual time of 8pm UK (and yes I hope to be offering the stitched piece featured in today's post).


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