More tools of the trade . . .
A little while ago, I wrote about the tools of my writing life and how few they were. I mentioned that if we had been talking about embroidery, the whole thing would be different. For a start, there are my threads, scissors, needles, a fraction only of which I have pictured.
My threads are divided into boxes of woolen thread, silk thread, cotton thread, acrylic thread in all colours of the rainbow.
I have three different pairs of embroidery scissors, but my faves are little gold ones my husband gave me. I have a set of three surgical tweezers, a must in stumpwork for bending wire.
I have bunches of different sorts of wires, all for detached wings, petals and stems in stumpwork. I have a shelf of fabric: silk, cashmere wool, cotton furnishing fabric.
I have books on the shelves and in the embroidery cupboard I have years of collecting Inspirations, the glorious Australian embroidery mag. And I have patterns and my own sketches. And this is what I end up with.
But why, you may ask? If I am a writer? Why not just sink myself into the word?
No one should write constantly. I definitely need time off and time out. One of the ways is to embroider at night whilst I ‘sort of’ watch TV. Actually, its more listening. Embroidery is finger meditation. My hands move and take my mind away from any conundrum and I feel calm and peaceful. My mother is the same . . . busy hands, quiet mind. It’s one of the real loves of my life and I’ve just finished embroidering a blue wren for a cushion and am about to begin its pair.
I find the quiet noise of the thread slipping through fabric, of something growing visually . . . the perfect antithesis to the glare of the computer screen and the finality of the delete button. Right now I’m off to hem the fabric for the next little bird cushion. See you on the other side of the thread!
I felt better just as I was reading this post Prue- you have created a calming, inspiring, beautiful picture; “I find the quiet noise of the thread slipping through fabric, of something growing visually . . . the perfect antithesis to the glare of the computer screen and the finality of the delete button.”
You are absolutely right, it is the perfect antithesis of the ‘computer-life’ we’re leading! 🙂
Thanks for that, Lua.
Computer life isn’t life, is it? It’s virtual life and nothing beats the real thing . . . you yourself are a great observer of real life. I’ve seen it reflected to great effect in your writing.
It’s lovely to see your tools, but even better is that last paragraph – it’s so, so true. You’ve hit the nail on the head of why I’ve always loved doing visual arts as well as writing – you can see progress and feel you’ve achieved something more tangible. I love words, of course, but their intagibility is both blessing and curse sometimes!
Great post! 🙂
Clare, Thank you. I had a feeling you might find kindred thoughts in this blog!
What a beautiful, beautiful piece of writing. It captures exactly the zen of making something with your hands.
And Pat, you were the inspiration for the tool thing in the beginning anyway.
“Embroidery is finger meditation.” – love that. And, I’ve enjoyed taking a peek into your embroidery box of goodies. ahhh, such beautiful delicate works of art.
Velvet, your blog is a similar box of goodies!
I’m glad to let you know, you always give me a little sunshine with your blog! And for this reason you deserve an award!!!
Thanks Maria. I can always count on you for making my day in some way!
This is beautiful. I’m in awe of your prowess as an artist.
In the US (maybe this is true in the rest of the world too), crafts that were once every woman’s work are seeing a comeback. It was as if the years from the 1970 – 1990s saw huge forgetting of these arts. Since housewives (and mothers and sisters) weren’t embroidering, no one else would or could.
And I suppose it’s a move to get back in touch with tactile work (touch with tactile work – what a horrid phrase I just made). Otherwise, I type out spreadsheets, type out grocery lists, type out every thing else I do, right?
Thanks, TFI. I’ve been part of that same revival here.
It started in the 1980’s and has become embedded in many women’s lives once again. For me, it’s to do with creating something visual using subtle colour and a variety of stitches, rather like an artist would create a picture using a variety of techniques. But more than anything, because I escape a lot from life’s pressing problems, it’s a form of escapism. I’m such a coward!
But the most rewarding thing of all, is that it actually inspired the first two books I wrote. It was a nice crossing-over of the two crafts.
PS: At least you can DO spreadsheets, I haven’t a clue!
Clare (the Gentlewoman Thief) sent me over here–we had been posting and commenting back and forth about how our writing and sewing often linked, and she mentioned there was another kindred sewer/writer out there–am very glad she mentioned you! Enjoyed this post, and have to say I am much the same in letting my hands be busy and my mind settle down. And TV on in the background? Of course, usually something terribly mindless 🙂
Oh Rowenna, if you are the Hyaline Prosaic of whom Clare speaks in her blog and whose work I have occasionally glimpsed, I’m delighted to have you in my ‘salon’. I hadn’t realised you were a writer as well. I will sign up to a kindred blog straight away.
You ladies who are so skilled at costuming are awe-inspiring. I’m only a writer/embroiderer. My friend Pat, from Bo Press Miniature Books is a former theatre costumier and she has just started a blog on her book studio, so I shall tell her about you.
I am taking time away from talking about other things to write a fun costume drama on the blog, a re-telling of the legend of Guy of Gisborne, so there may not be embroidery talk for a little while. The readers seem to be in love with Guy (actually I think its more Richard Armitage . . . but there you go!) Great to have you here.