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Stitching My Sketchbook

At the top of our neighborhood is an intersection of two roads. One is named Silver Dapple Lane. It is one of my most favorite places on earth. Down this road lies a beautiful farm with cows grazing on fields of clover. In another direction from this intersection is a field of wheat leading to another farm and a tranquil neighborhood. Yet another direction leads me home. On my daily walks I go through this intersection and I think how very much this is my life as an artist. I am forever walking down new paths of creativity as well as the older, well-trodden ones. I’m endlessly curious and fascinated by color, texture and line. Finding a way to blend my loves of drawing, painting, stitching and textiles is fascinating and enchanting.

Who knows where this new path will take me? I have no idea. Nor do I know how long the path goes on for, or how long I will choose to stay on it. For now, I’m stitching up fragments of textile art…pieces of collaged fabric held together by both machine and hand-stitching. The hand embroidered lines are taken directly from the drawings in my sketchbook. Florals, landscapes, still-life and more from over 10 years of sketchbooks filled with drawings of my daily life.

I appreciate your presence here. And your patience. If you follow my work on any of the many blogs or podcasts I offer out there, you are justified in a good chuckle as I embark on another tangent. It’s really all the same thing, just different mediums. I’m holding to that! And stitching my way through life.

-Jennifer Edwards

jenniferedwards.com

Where Reveries Meet

Up ahead

A mountained mercy

Glowing on the horizon

Streaming grace

From every pore

Of the woven road

‘Neath my needled feet.

I thread my way through

Rosehip and riverbed

Leading Sonward

And though I falter

I keep digging

Down and up

Where reveries meet.

-jpe

*********************

These fragments of fabric and stitch hold a beauty which sometimes takes my breath away. It seems silly, downright dumb, to be faffing about with scraps of fabric, castoff pieces from not-so noteworthy fabric, trims, and lace. I have a vintage piece or two, but most of it is quite modern and ordinary. I haven’t even over-dyed anything, nor eco-dyed with plants and rusted objects.

Yet it is in these ordinary small bits I see a beauty come alive in my hands, slowly, in a perfect rhythm that allows my mind to mull and consider and then decide as one goes. I have a sense that I am joining together things which have been sundered, or broken in some way. That I am repairing what has been lost, not to its original state in any way, but to an altered reality that speaks of redemption and reconciliation.

Those are huge words for such tiny bits of thread and cloth. It is indeed a junction where reveries meet…ordinary and extraordinary, minutia and expansion, commonplace and sacred. Where the needle hits the cloth is quite startlingly a point of intersection, so many things being brought together that were once separate, sundered even, needing hope and renewal.

My own life of late is full of these junctures. It has always been true in my artistic journey that I am given a means, a medium, in which to work out what is going on in my day to day living. Just like one of author Sarah Addison Allen’s characters who seems to be given a book just when she needs it, so I am granted a way of creating that allows me to step into what I am experiencing and understand it or at least have a way to hold it, to hold on, and not fly apart in a million bits of frayed fabric.

This is patch #11 in this series which I began in early February and which continues now on into Lent. I stitch in the morning and in the evening on most days and I know I am aging as I see my hands, so much like my mother’s. I read a small piece in Wendell Berry’s book The Art of the Commonplace which made me breathe a sigh of release, hoping this might be me…a mountained mercy, a hill of grace.

“The hill is like an old woman, all her human obligations met, who sits at work day after day, in a kind of rapt leisure, at an intricate embroidery. She has time for all things. Because she does not expect ever to be finished, she is endlessly patient with details. She perfects flower and leaf, feather and song, adorning the briefest life in great beauty as though it were meant to last forever.” -Wendell Berry.