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


A Sea of Dew

It’s actually a scrap of Batik fabric in colors I might not describe as “dew”. Yet as I stitched I could hear my mother’s beautiful rich alto voice singing a song I had heard so many times as a child. I loved the fanciful story sung with a melancholy tune.

Now, more than ever, that tune resonates even more melancholy as my dear mom struggles with Alzheimer’s disease. I never thought I would see the fabric of her mind slowly come undone, like stitches popping here and there, one by one. It is heartbreaking, to say the least, for all of us in the family, but more painfully for my dad. At 81 years old he is doing his best to care for his 75 year old wife of 55 years.

This piece belies my feelings surrounding all this. I stitch a world where joy reigns and sailboats come home whole and unmarred by the storms out at sea. A Sun-Flower presides over the day of sailing, and all will be well. The only hint to the melancholy in this piece are the frayed edges of scraps of fabric and torn cheese cloth suggesting the frothing sea foam.

Ripped, torn, worn, cast off bits are fashioned into a joyful scene, much like the song mom sang and can still sing, word for word. Music, from her massive gift of a singing voice, seems to remain unflinching against the ripped edges of memory. Like the tiny sailboat, this song and many others still sail through her memory…tunes, words and all. My prayer is that this little music boat will carry her all the way home.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
  sailed off in a wooden shoe —
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
  into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
  the old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring fish
  that live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!”
  said Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
  as they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
  ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
  that lived in that beautiful sea —
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish —
  never afraid are we”;
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
  Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
  to the stars in the twinkling foam —
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
  bringing the fishermen home;
‘Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
  as if it could not be,
And some folks thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed
  of sailing that beautiful sea —
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
  Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
  and Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
  is a wee one’s trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
  of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
  as you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
  Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

-written by poet Eugene Field, 1889