Love

We were out on our back deck, my youngest girl and I. At 15 years old she was texting her friends in and around our conversation over mason jars of water with lemon and strawberries. I picked up my stitching and put the needle into the fabric, pulling it through.

“Oh my…”

“What mom?”

“Why do I love that sound so much?”

“What sound?”

“The sound of a needle puncturing fabric and then the whoosh of it being drawn through?”

“I don’t know mom. I could look it up. It might be an obsession.”

After a bit of a chuckle, during which she just grinned at me, I thought well…perhaps it is so.

The thing is, I fall in love with stuff like this. With the sound of a paintbrush swishing around in water. The clickety-clack of knitting needles and the feel of yarn in my hands. It’s the process, always the process, that holds an enchantment quite apart from the finished work. This explains why I can be so pleased with what may be a bland end-product. It is the memory of each stroke, every stitch, how it felt, what was going on while it was being made…that ties my heart to it.

Obsession? Possibly. But I prefer to call it love.

Love in the stitched fabric of life…no matter the outcomes.

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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

At the Crossroads

Creatively speaking, I seem to be at a crossroads often. I do not understand this about myself. It is cause for quite a lot of consternation. I have been actively and professionally making art for 20 years now. Mostly paintings and drawings. Knitting and crocheting are at least equal passions that I engage in daily and have done so for perhaps longer than the artwork. Tapestry weaving was a recent devotion. And now stitching. The kind that uses a small needle with embroidery threads, fabrics, ribbons and the like. Why can I not just stick with one thing? What do I make of this?

It is as if I walk along the creative path and come to this crossroads with numerous paths leading off in different directions. They all look so interesting and inviting and my curiosity is peaked and I can’t wait to sketch something out, or cast on or make a few stitches. Before I know it, I’m completely ensconced in an enchanted world and my hands and heart are full with merry making in whatever mediums that world offers.

I do not stay in that one world for long. I’m back at the crossroads walking down another lane, sometimes doing so numerous times in a single day. Painting and sketching in my sketchbook, knitting rows on a poncho design, a crocheted one too, and transferring a recent drawing to a collaged fabric fragment, ready for a simple embroidery stitch. Oh. My. Heart.

Each time I set off in a new direction, I want a clean slate, a wide open, airy space in which to work. Designating a blog entirely to that craft seems a perfect way to at least mentally have a little focus. Never mind that I have a main blog that attempts to cover them all, a blog for my pilgrim drawings, another for the grace of knitting. Somehow weaving escaped having its own blog. Perhaps it didn’t stick around long enough. It must’ve been a very short little trail off the beaten path. I don’t know. Truly it all baffles me.

But this stitching work has taken hold. I have tried, over the last couple of years to think  of it only as a side path, a small, every-now-and-then fascination.  Perhaps in a month or a year, I will be walking another, quite different creative path. But for now, I am captivated by these lines of stitches taken straight from my sketchbook, translated into stitches on collaged fabric fragments.

I want to hang out in this enchanted world of stitching for awhile, and to write about it. This blog feels like turning the page for a new chapter. It might be a short one. Or long. Who knows? All I know is that this stitching path feels right to me and I’m hearing a voice behind me saying, “Walk in it.”