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Sewing Repub

the Slowness of Being

19 Dec 2009


Being creative and fostering growth within that realm is a process of engaging with the world around you as well as that of other artists. Taking what you learn from these places and making it your own is the imperative of each of us as artists.

A few years ago, a few of my friends took a class by Dorothy Caldwell. The samples they brought home were stunning and got me thinking about Kantha cloth and making marks on cloth using stitch. This stewed and brewed within me for, as I said, a couple of years.

Then I started reading Jude Hill at Spirit Cloth whose work, style and approach inspire me so much, I feel overwhelmed. I know I have been talking about her a lot in the last few months, but there you have it. Jude tells stories in every stitch. She concerns herself with concepts and ideas and explores those ideas one stitch at a time. Her edges are ragged when they need to be. Creatures surface, moons appear, words bubble up from the depths of thread. Dots, dashes, random and ordered.

For a while I had a story in my head that went like this, "Melly. You need to create and finish artwork more quickly. You cannot get so immersed in a piece that it takes a year to finish it. You will never be able to sell artwork that takes too long to finish.'

That is an old storyline. That storyline began when I was in my beaded mosaic/beading stage. And well before I started working small and allowing myself to work on multiple pieces at one time. So. It is time to ditch that storyline, right? OK.

Especially in light of my newest addiction.

Kantha cloth, using positive and negative space, stitch, cloth and line to create a story or idea. I am using my own hand dyed 6 strand embroidery floss to create this little tableau (although, I am using a single strand to do it). If you look closely, you will see the Daisy Gazer. The beauty of this thread is that it slowly fades into the cloth I am using (Thank you Judy).

Here is a detail of the Daisy Gazer.

The Daisy Gazer is a little doodle that I do when asked to sign my book. His expression is how I feel when I see birds. Captivated and stilled and wanting to see more.

Which is also how I feel when stitching. One. Stitch. At. A. Time.

I am making the design up as I go. Free-form, with no outlines. Can you see the spaceship with alien? Can you tell I am having fun? AND seeing as I started stitching this on Thursday, can you remind me that it is not taking a year to complete (even if it is, as yet, incomplete)?


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Jane LaFazio wrote
on 19 Dec 2009 2:31 PM

oh my gosh. I looked at the kantha stitching link--I want to do it! I looked for a book on it. No such animal (oh, if you can spend $150) Then I looked at dorothy caldwell, and now I desparately want to take a workshop from her. I love anything called "making a mark' and her work looks gorgeous.

Geez, Melly! you got me all excited!!

MellyT wrote
on 19 Dec 2009 6:51 PM

Oh Jane! I love you.

on 19 Dec 2009 9:32 PM


Your little book is looking wonderful!  I am amazed you are doing this all freehand - but I shouldn't be since you are such a talented artist.  Is this the little book you are doing for your joggles class?  

on 20 Dec 2009 7:15 PM

and so what if it takes a year... it is still sooo beautiful and moving and continually becoming.  ;)  loveIT!  ;)  xoxo

MellyT wrote
on 21 Dec 2009 6:26 PM

Lisa, I will post about Joggles soon! You will soon see.

Leilar, I finally agree with you (again). :)