I rise each morning and make rows of stitches on a small patch of collaged fabric, like furrows in a field. I know not what I’m sowing, nor what its yield will be. I rise and do this work because it is in me to do. Some small beacon of light shone out of the corner of my eye and I rose to follow it. I’ve told myself I will take up the plow of needle and thread for one month of days, sowing stitches, however many or few my daily living allows.
I have set aside the well-beloved endeavors of daily spinning and sketch journaling to tend to my layered fields of cloth. I have a hunch they will be much like my daily drawings, only with thread, and may spin a yarn of a different sort. They are not abandoned altogether of course, for they are as much a part of the fabric of this creative garden as any and surely cannot be left unattended for too long. Weaving continues to draw me and a current work on the loom reminds me even more of plowed rows across which I sow (sew) color and texture. Even these patches I stitch are first and foremost bits of cloth, woven warp to weft. I cannot get out of my head the image of a farmer, working her fields sunup to sundown, and in my case, even after that oftimes.
Perhaps it is no wonder then that most of my patches end up looking like fields or landscapes. I may very well have in my DNA those lovely scenes from my childhood in the mountains – fields of wildflowers, hillsides with row upon row of Christmas trees, exquisite vistas where land, however mountainous, meets the sky.
I do not set out intentionally to create beautiful landscapes. To do so would be to force upon the fabric something it may or may not be ready for or designed to be. I am here not to reap a profit. I am a caretaker, or another word for this would be artist, whose job is to work the patches of land that I hold in such a way as to let them breathe and tell what story as they may have to tell. Once my work is done, I move on to the next field or patch of cloth, as a true itinerant farmer.
Come along with me and my needle as we go up hill and down dale, through this field for a time, making our way though the days of February…farming in the dead of winter.
P. S. Dear reader…you will likely pick up on influences in my writing and thoughts as we go along this month…I am reading several of Wendell Berry’s works and it is infusing my creative practice with images I have long known before but which somehow get lost in all the living and even in the making. Should you care to read along with me, the works I have going are: Sabbath Poems; Art of the Commonplace; and Jayber Crow.