Yesterday I was sitting in my studio working on a piece for the installation I’m creating. The installation will be 13 pieces that reflect the emotional and spiritual challenges of having a chronic or life-threatening illness. While the viewer gazes at each piece they will be enveloped in their own sacred space. It’s that space that I’m working to emphasize and punctuate in this process.
The stitching I’m doing on the piece now is hand work. I’m stitching an undulating wave pattern with embroidery floss so it adds texture to the piece. The piece is in shades of white/black/copper & rose. I’ve chosen to use a variegated orange floss for the hand work. I love the idea of variegated floss because it fades in and out in intensity just as one’s emotions or challenges fade in and out on any given day. The texture added by the hand stitching allows the viewer to have a visceral experience if they choose to touch the piece and the pattern can be followed. The wave pattern can be interpreted as a sign of serenity or a way to emphasize the ups and downs of daily life.
Personally, the hand stitching is a time of quiet. It’s those moments when I manipulate the piece to get the needle up and down through the cloth. When I’m stitching in the middle it’s challenging because I don’t want to crease the work and yet I want to get to the heart of the piece. It’s mirrors the process of those facing an illness, looking for safe ground instead of swimming in a sea of confusion and despair.
My personal experience of this process provides me with an opportunity to practice and demonstrate perseverance and tenacity. Once again it initiates me into a sacred space. I’m transported beyond the work of art to looking inward at the ups and downs in my own life. I’m confronted with the intensity and the fading of my emotions and deep emotional challenges. What I’m clear about is the desire and need to express myself through the art and the stitching allows me to turn of the volume.