From the beginning of the year I’ve been searching high and low for ways to live Slow & Simple. I have not achieved this lofty ideal. And perhaps it is unattainable as an ongoing, moment by moment reality. I have had, thankfully, some hours, minutes, perhaps even a day here and there where Slow and Simple were tangible states of being. I am ever so grateful for these moments, places to breathe into and gain a sense of equilibrium, even if it is fleeting.
I had no idea at the beginning of this year that I would be delving back into a medium that is even slower in its approach and process than any of my previous ways of creating art. Drawing and painting can be everything from painstaking to dashed off. I seem to like the fairly free and loose approach which is somewhat quick yet thoughtful too. Knitting is always a time-consuming work, but it can also be mindless, fast knit & purl, or a slowed chart-reading affair. But embroidery seems even slower, if that is possible. Needle up through the fabric, needle down through the fabric, pull up, pull down. There are times when I can work down & up in the same motion, thus speeding things up a smidge. But not always. The pre-work (or post, in this case) of creating a collaged fabric upon which to stitch, drawing, tracing, transferring, any machine embroidery, etc…this all adds to a slower method of working. It is one I am currently relishing in all its facets and phases.
The thing about Slow, whether in life or in art, is in the doing of a thing. It’s a matter of doing each task slowly, thoughtfully, mindfully. I sometimes daydream about a monastic life of stitching, knitting, crocheting and artful work. I read somewhere that if you want to live a kind of monastic life right where you are, you must slow down and do one thing at a time. You must eat lunch and only eat lunch. Not eat lunch while working, or while checking Instagram, or while making a grocery list. Guilty, guilty, guilty.
This one-thing-at-a-time way of living would really slow me down. Yet I need very much to obey that inner voice, to actually attend to one thing at a time, to do slow so that I can live slow. It shouldn’t have to require me moving into a monastery. I should be able to live this slower and simplified life right here. Right? But it will cost. It will actually cost me not accomplishing as much as I want and feel I should. Slow will only BE in my life if I am willing to DO slow. Just like my stitches. Down, Up, down, up. One stitch at a time.