Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stitching a Story

I believe that there are subtle messages that are being sent to us all of the time. From where or whom, I know not.

But I do know, that if we are listening...if we are open and receiving the signals...then we just might receive a little cosmic push that sends us down a new path...down a road less traveled that we may not have otherwise taken.

Well, this morning I felt a cosmic "push". I was sitting at the lab waiting to have my blood drawn for a routine test and was reading the latest issue of Inspirations magazine.

And in the latest issue there is an entire article on the beauty of Kantha embroidery. I couldn't believe the coincidence.

At the end of the article there are stitch guides for the stitches used in kantha embroidery -- many of them variations of the running stitch -- new stitches to me like the chatai stitch, kaitya stitch and the kantha stitch...providing more substance to my exploration of kantha embroidery.

Stitches that, just days ago, I had searched for on the internet trying to find stitch guides to help me better understand the methods of the kantha stitched by the Bangladeshi women that I posted about the other day in telling Surayia's story. And here it was, all laid out before me this morning in black and white.

And this is the same embroidery that just happens to be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where I can easily make a day trip and go see the many nakshi kantha up-close-and-personal. There's no doubt in my mind now that I have to go.

And, all of this information landed in my lap within one week. What to make of it?

I have always been attracted to needlework that tells a story. Participating in the Bead Journal Project taught me the power of combining my love for embroidery with my love for my own life.
Each one, individually, is beautiful in and of itself...but put together, the combined result is an art form that speaks to...and from...my very soul.

Surayia said "Life tells the Story." And I think perhaps that is my message this week.

Where will I go next with telling my story in my needlework. I have decided that I cannot participate formally in the bead journal project this year because I cannot meet the monthly deadline...the schedule. But I will take what I learned from that journey and apply it to what I make in the future.

Interestingly enough, I picked up this book at the Quilt store this past Saturday. It is chock full of quilts that tell the stories of the makers...whether it be an event or a person or a feeling. It's journaling with textiles...just like the kantha...and it encourages the reader to tell their own stories with cloth. If you can find it...it's worth a look over with a cuppa just for the gallery pictures alone...dozens and dozens of quilts that tell stories...

Today, I have to finish Cate's jean jacket but all the while I'll be thinking about stories I want to tell with my needle and thread.

And I think that maybe I have become a student of Surayia even though I live hundreds of miles away and we have never met...


Momma Bear said...

Susan, I have been thinking on this subject for months now and again here you go and put it into plain english for me!)
I wholeheartedly believe that something "is trying to tell us something" whether its the universe, god or little green men, I don't know.
I listen to that something, all the time.
It has only been when I have ignored the "signs" the cosmic push that I have had the head slapping, woulda-coulda-shoulda moment.
sometimes the push is overwhelming, sometimes it's subtle as wind from a butterfly's wing. but it its always there, that spiritus of inspiration.
the universe is calling and it wants you to create more beauty!

Gerry Krueger said...

This "push" happens to me all the time and how clever of you to recognize it... I'm always sorry when I don't listen to it... I was just going to write you as I had read that article when the mag came and just now put it together with your post... This is definitely a woman thing...

Gerry K...

Rachel said...

Absolutely - well done for spotting the moment! Now to run with it, I guess - good luck!

Judy S. said...

As someone who's worked in the field of literacy for a long time, I think many of the great paintings and some kind of textile arts were created when only a few select individuals could read. Perhaps this is true of kantha stitching too? And then there is film..... All very helpful to "cement" a story or preserve one, especially for the many who for one reason or another can't enjoy the printed page. I can't wait to see where you go with this!

Catherine said...

What a great post! I definitely believe in "pushes" that come from elsewhere!

Can't wait to see how the jacket turned out!

Nellie's Needles said...

Ahhh, the serendipity of life happenings ... as though there is a master plan. Our part seems to be to pay attention and be open.

Dees said...

Just today I learned that to receive you have to open up! That's just what you did by sharing wuryias story and letting it touch you. This is wonderfull and I am so sure that you will use this to amaze us once again.

How is Cate's jacket going? Will you post on it? Unbelievable you write about "finishing it up". Where do you find all the time? Is there a hidden pot of time at the end of the rainbow?

No more questions, just love and inspirational thoughts your way. So glad to know you.

Trillian said...

I love your blog and your thoughts.
Thank you for sharing these ideas with us.

Elizabeth said...

How in the world did I miss the post about the woman from Bangladesh?????? I never miss your posts!!! must find it and read!!! When you are meant to do something , it is presented to you! I firmly believe this!! Can't wait to see where this journey takes you, talented girl!!!!

Marnie said...

Strangest thing. I had a sudden urge to make a stop at an out-of-the-way bookstore last week on my way home. I walked straight to this magazine, paid for it and walked out. Took 5 extra minutes but I've spent hours pouring over this issue!

Ingrid Mida said...

Hi Susan,
I love your post. I never even heard of Inspirations magazine. Something else to add to my list.
I have been thinking about you a lot lately. I attended a lecture given by the chairman of Hand and Lock Embroidery Company (from the UK) and kept thinking if only Susan was here! I will post about it soon. It filled me up with inspiration.
Best wishes!

Sweetpea said...

oh my, Susan...my immediate response as I read this post was, "Kismet."

This is your story. You shall tell it in YOUR way and I will look forward to it, including your upcoming trip to Philly :>]]

A follower of your life in stitches,

Balwearie said...

That is too cool -- I think there's something about waiting rooms. Maybe it's because they cause us to sit unplugged for a time. As usual, I can't wait to see what you create!

Dena said...

I learned of your blog from Loralynn's post on her blog My Art, My So Called Life. Your work is beautiful and inspiring. I'm now a regular follower. Thanks for sharing your inspiration!

Bobbi Pohl said...

Yeh. I know what you mean.

Lynn said...

Timing is everything. (funny about the time reference right?)

How come all the waiting rooms I ever have to 'wait' in only have Time, Sports Illustrated, etc. etc?! Yeah, those are real inspirational....

Enjoy your journey. I can't wait to see your first piece.

Carol said...

Hi friend.
Can't believe I missed this post on Tuesday. Must have been a bad day at the OK.

Personally, I think BJP was exactly what you needed to mend after the loss of your mom. Your pages have always shown your journaling ability, but always your individuality and ability to make the project you own by incorporating your particular skills.

I was looking through a Quilt Art issue that I have which has an article on the Quilt Journal Project. I think its defunct now, but the artist that was showcased did amazing squares. It made me realize that this year the BJP is something entirely different to me than it was last year. One thing is constant. It forces me to take time to focus on myself.

So, even if you are not part of BJP, you are ever creating the next idea that pops in your head, and we are all enjoying that you share it all with us!!.

Can't wait to see the jacket!
Love, Carol

Marty52 said...

Oh, wowzers... that's Karma comin' atcha, baby! Better grab hold and hang on, I bet you have quite a ride ahead of you! What a wonderful thing to happen to you! Go baby go!

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