Spending time with my muse

I haven’t written in a while-

But I’ve been exploring my

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storytelling side- I’ve been

looking around- to see my

muse. See what she says,

Why she is silent, or how

she speaks. I’ve been making

things. beautiful things. ok

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things. new things. old things.

And I’ve been sharing them,

Giving them away without fear,

without shame. They

can simply be- be- here.

Evolve, transferred and rejoiced in.

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And it is different- than it used

to be. And it’s the same in away

and yet. I thank the lord for new

things. and for everything he brings back. DSC03435

 

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Stitch the things you want to see in the world.

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Whoever designed this sign is absolutely brilliant

The famous quote ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ -MichalScofieldd slips it to Sarah Tencredi to establish a kind of connection on his first visit to the doctors office as part of this plan to escape Fox River Prison. I don’t know how bad it is that when I saw the quote used for an event on Facebook, I had to think of Sarah and Micheal and had to google who is responsible for the quote, or who it is attributed to (Mahatma Gandhi).

One way or another, the title of this post is a reference to this famous phrase. Seeing the quote embroidered I thought of an alternative ‘Stitch the things you want to see in the world’. These days, in the time of Facebook and Instagram it is very easy to see many talented (embroidery) artists, and I follow quite a lot of them. Seeing a bit of their process and quite ‘flat’ work of embroidery it would be easy to copy their style or re-imagine their work. The truth is, I did this myself, funnily enough, due to the fact that I am never so committed to copying something exactly, and am stuck with my own ideas and work ethics- and so my stitches still produce work that is quite different from the point of inspiration.

The ‘Jacobean’ sampler was inspired by what embroidery fairy godmother Mary Corbet posted years ago., The gray on white stripes are an attempt to embroider a face based on a photograph- not entirely sure where that came from… The little rabbit is an attempt to make something like  Chloe Giordano.

Ever since I started making things it was not that I had truly original ideas that no one ever had before, rather I would see something and think: I should be able to do this, and do it better, or at least my way. Being the change you want to see in the world is quite a big challenge, it suggests that things should change and you have to be the driving force to make it happen. Quite the pressure. I like the idea of stitching the things I want to see- I may not be able to change the world or peoples mind, but I can add something I have not seen before, my vision. Today I went to the movies to see ‘The greatest showman’ while not truly revolutionary the premise of the film intrigued me. one of the first songs that are sung state:

The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make –“A Million Dreams” The greatest showman. 

The words might as well be an impression of my own thoughts mind and heart. Although not new,  the song reminded me again of how wonderful it is to dream and make dreams come true.  And how wonderful it is to touch things in person that were only figments of imagination. To see that they are so similar or different than they started out with just a thought. A stitch or a work of art might not seem as things that have much influence on the world and the state of things on the scale of Gandhi’s work (although weaving was one of the crafts supported by his work), it holds a metaphor for the rest of life. So yeah, I dare you 31 days into the new year to stitch the things you want to see. Because you’ll learn and further develop a (new) skill – because you’ll find your strengths and limitations. But mostly because you will witness the creation and the possibility of creating anything.

Open(ed) heart

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Things I made growing up

Today one of our pastors preached about growing up. And she started with telling that she is an aunt. My brother first thought she said she was an ant. He was a little sad when she meant something else- not to because he cannot relate to having nephews and nieces (he is a great uncle) but because he enjoys it when people compare themselves to animals. Today I felt a bit like those little piglets who just plunge themselves between layers of their brothers and sisters. Surrounded by complete and utter love. And of course, the love that pushes and pulls. So why do I feel like a little piglet in a pile of piglets? What does it take for a reasonably grown-up woman to feel like that?

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Holding a baby. Embroidered. In progress.

Yesterday and today I celebrated my birthday, (I was actually born the 29th, but weekends make for good party days). That brings me back to the ‘aunt’ thing. Yesterday my two nieces were here. One 3 years, the other 8 months old. Becoming an aunt does something strange to you, or at least it did to me. There is this gigantic space in my heart, or rather, it feels like my heart is enlarged, burst in a way. Yesterday I wrote about it:

“how can a heart, burst, break, heal and be perfectly calm at the same time?”

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Open Heart. 6 times.

Having family over, having loved ones connect, it’s a special kind of vulnerable. It’s a special kind of warm… For as long as I remember, I am happiest on my birthday… So incredibly thankful for what I am given, what I am a part of, what I get to share, what people give to me :). Now, after a long day of trying to be right in time, serve, connect, cross-table conversations, people I love, I am content, like a fed piglet- perhaps eager to grow, but for now, I know that basking in the light of all this love it is enough to just lie. snuggle up. sleep. knowing I am perfectly loved.

Just do something. Anything?

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The obscurity of a blurry photo in black and white

Write often, write honestly. That’s what I just heard Jon Foreman say in a video on youtube. Just before that, I saw some random person (random to me) with a video that says ‘what will happen when you do 1 push-up a day’ (in dutch). I was looking for some actual fitness video- my goal for this year is to be able to do a push-up, might as well set the bar at a low point. Anyways, even though the video showed some guy doing a push-up- he was mainly explaining how if you set low goals for ‘once a day’ it is easy to do more. one of the examples ‘if you decide to write at least 1 sentence for your blog a day, – you’ll think that is only a very little amount and before you know it you have written 7 blogs. like falling down a rabbit hole.

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What I’ve been stitching the last few days

Speaking of rabbit holes, I do fall in them sometimes- videos on youtube- interviews with people about movies I just saw. knitting for the sake of doing something while watching movies again and again. This week is the last of my free weeks, and yet, I feel little urge to do ‘everything I could’ mostly because I am not sure what that is or how I can get myself to do it. That brings me back to the first two ideas- simply starting somewhere and then making it a practice. And practice perhaps yields results. Even if they are not your absolute best or most satisfying.

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Not even a fraction of how beautiful the view really is. Even when writing honestly, photo’s can lie.

That being said, it feels good to simply sit down and write al little entry while I look out of the window and see the black shapes of the barren trees in front of the golden, orange, taupe and blue skies. The sun has gone down and I have yet to go outside today. But in these short days and long nights, I might as well not morn the day when it is lacking sunshine. I might as well check if tonight the ice skate rink that I have 5 more admissions for at the other side of town is open, to go there tonight from 2100. It might be just one time. But I’ll be doing something.

– Turns out it is open from 20.30-23.00. Yet another reason to just do it :).

Abstract rhythms//cross stitch

What a word. rhythms. Perhaps one of the words that have the least a,e,o,u, i or y’s. yes, I do not know the word for these subdivisions of letters. In dutch they are called klinkers or medeklinkers: basically sounds or added sounds (probably a terrible translation but these words are really confusing dutch to me). Anyways, a new blog post. Yet another one about cross-stitch. Why? Because I found myself making more patterns and projects, and I find myself in uncharted territory. Or at least, that’s how I feel about it now. I wouldn’t say that I am a truly original artist, but the history of cross-stitch and how I use it in my work is quite interesting to look at (I think). So how do we know cross-stitch? it seems to be everywhere nowadays. Of course, some of the traditional applications are the samplers: in dutch the ‘letterlappen or merklappen’ the sometimes huge textiles on which often very young children learned to stitch the letters of the alphabet to be able to mark their (future) linens to mark them as their own. In addition to letters, there were numbers, borders and some images such as trees, humans, and animals.

The other kind of cross-stitch you might now is now easily explained as an enlarged computer image: the image is build up out of pixels, or in this case crosses, cross-stitched. A third option is the more traditional more abstract ways of applying cross stitch: for instance, the folklore patterns that were used in traditional garments which often are symbols for things important to man and that particular culture. In these certain colors are often required, or the lack of it as in traditional blackwork.

Now I must confess: Growing up I thought samples and the pixel images to be very very boring. Basically, I thought: why would you first go to the trouble of making a sampler if you could just make an actual project, such as stitch a little poem (the lazy fox jumped over the sleeping dog, anyone?). Neither was I, or am I very interested in making ‘realistic’ images of things and objects via cross-stitch: I think it is loads of work and the medium does not add enough to justify this work. Personally, I am mostly drawn to the more traditional folklore patterns and blackwork.These ancient patterns are good at what I called in the title the post ‘abstract’ rhythms. Nevertheless, they are very static, these patterns repeat them selfs, and even though I find them very pleasing to the eye, they do not leave very much room for creative expression.

I love the cross-stitch medium, for the same reason I find the images made by cross-stitch very boring: you only have crosses and a grid, on which you have little freedom. However, as in most creative endeavors restrictions give unknown opportunities. In my cross-stitches, I like to explore the idea of abstract rhythms. As seen in the previous post with cross-stitch you can repeat a pattern, you can turn it, copy it wholly or half, you can add an extra color, or take one away. In that way, you create some kind of living creation. You still start with a ‘fixed’ pattern, but you don’t have to keep it that way. You can ‘abuse’ the basic principles of cross-stitch: rhythm and abstraction.

 

The Bigger Pictures- Lost in the details

 

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Lost- one of my favorite lyrics incorporating the word ‘lost’ is from Newton Faulkners ‘Lullaby’, From his first album of which he made a 45 minutes video where he plays all the songs in his house- lullaby is the last one. The lyrics tell ‘If you’re not lost, I guess that makes you found. The last few weeks with shortening days and no clear goals I must say I felt a little lost.  At a point, I actually watched part of the first episode of lost- because I did not know what to do with myself. This week is a first of very structured weeks- work early in the morning- afternoon and evening off- though I must say these evenings are easily filled.

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Today, however, I do not feel lost- inspired by a roommate who spends her last days before work starts again with improving the house, I finally also executed some of my plans. cleaning out my room and throwing out things makes it possible once again to see some order in the chaos. I even re-arranged some of my work on the wall, and to keep this blog visually interesting I took some photos.

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Everything might still seem a little bit chaotic, but lots of things, including me, are no longer lost. I guess that makes me found.

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