Over the past couple of months I've been reading the book Slow Stitch by Claire Wellesley-Smith. And now that I've reached the end, I find I can't put it away. It must always be out on my table where I can pick it up on impulse, leaf through it, and be inspired anew. It's not a "how to" embroidery book. Instead, it offers thoughtful descriptions of her own "slow" approach to stitching, ideas for teaching, community projects she's been involved in, information about upcycling and natural dyeing, mending and piecing, and more. Her own art and that of other textile artists is presented in gorgeous photographs that capture the subtle appeal of fabric and thread.
One of the topics she discusses are stitch journals—which struck a note with me, thanks to my own daily embroidery projects. My current piece, which began with embroidering wrinkles in the fabric, is nearing completion. So I've been thinking about what's next.
Inspired by Wellesley-Smith, I've decided to undertake a daily stitch journal in the new year. Each day I plan to stitch as much as time allows using a color observed in my backyard here in western Massachusetts.
I like to work abstractly, so rather than attempt to "illustrate" how the yard looks I'll instead use observation as a springboard. I may add fabrics and other flotsam and jetsam, I may layer elements up in a jumble, or space them far apart . . . each day's choices will be a reflection of my mood, the light, birdsong, what the landscape makes me feel, etc. In the end, the year's work will be rooted in the place where I live, and in the changing seasons. But, as an embodiment of my own inner response to outer reality, it will also have the personal quality of a journal. There will be 12 separate pieces, one for each month, that I will ultimately stretch over canvases.
I doubt I'll document each day's work—for me, that would take the joy and fun out of the project and turn it into dutiful work. And then I'd surely abandon it! I'm still mulling over documentation, but am leaning towards a weekly or monthly blog post, with more frequent images on Instagram. I've enjoyed following Ann Wood's sketchbook project this year and felt her weekly posts were just right.
Have you ever done a daily creative project? How did it go? I've often thought about it, but this is the first time I've hit on an idea that I can commit to—and feel confident I can carry out. In fact, I can't wait to start!
To find my embroidery work on Instagram, search on the hashtags #bonniesennott, #dailyembroidery, and (starting next year) #stitchjournal2016.