Sunday, April 24, 2011

Itching for Hand Stitching

I have a spring jacket that I hardly ever wear. I bought it when I went to visit my daughter in Galway several springs ago back, knowing how misty-moisty damp the weather in Ireland can be. After stubbornly putting away my winter jacket while hoping spring would actually arrive here on the North Coast, I had to pull it out today to keep the still chilly weather at bay.

When the silhouettes of the trees on the horizon begin turning that beautiful shade of lime green, I know spring here is around the corner, and my mind automatically starts making lists of things to do: rake the leaves away from the emerging spring bulbs, gather up dead tree branches, wash the kitchen floor.

Gayle's stitched collage, Changes
In my Magic Baby work studio, I am slowly sewing up the piles of designs I tend to cut out at night while watching the news or a movie with my husband. Once I have finished a design idea and my prototype, I sit and cut and cut and cut at night, and end up with large piles of sewing to await me each morning when I start to work.

Detail, Changes by Gayle Pritchard
I have decided to stop cutting out new garments to sew until I get my piles of unsewn ones under control. I get stir crazy, though, if I don't have something creative to do while I am sitting. Spring's imminent arrival has made me itchy to have some handwork to do.

At I seminar on creativity and work productivity, I made a note of the speaker's comment, paraphrased here. She said, when you want to begin new work, and have nothing in particular in mind, go look at your body of work and be inspired by that. I have always remembered that. I am rarely short on ideas, but frankly, at the end of a long work day in my self-created sweat shop, I am tired. I still want something creative to do with my hands, but I also want to relax. Handwork, for me, has always fulfilled that desire. With a composition already created and put together during my peak thinking hours, at night, I can just sit and stitch. Rhythm, pull the thread, put in the needle, repeat. It's wonderful.

The framed collage here hangs in my living room. I have always loved it, refreshed by its quiet colors and serene symmetry. I love the raw edges of the antique linen and other fabrics used for the collage, and I love the stitching marks that lead my eye around the piece, and back to the slightly obscured drawing I transferred as the focal point. This will be my inspiration for some light night stitching.

Happy spring, Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it, and may peace find you in the wee hours of the night.


  1. I know what you mean about hand stitching. Maybe it's our automated techno world we live in .... We have a shortage of handwork to do. It helps my mind relax and wander ....

  2. I find the rhythm comforting, too. And the real bonus: it's portable. I have finished many a piece in the car, the orthodontist's office, etc. Non-tech, plain old thinking time. Yes.