Joy’s Garden

What once was paint, is now fabric scraps. Where lines were drawn, thread now marks the way. I have no idea how this happened. I still draw and paint, but somehow along the years of making, I have discovered a way to express that inner calling in cast off bits of fabric, ribbon, thread, buttons and whatnot I find around me.

This piece began on the bottom portion of a worn out shirt. Scraps of fabric gleaned from the bins at my local yarn and fabric shop where I teach, bits of orange roving from felted wool, and the ends of warp threads from recent weavings have all come together for what turned out to be a garden piece.

I’m pretty smitten with it and am considering framing it over a canvas if I can find one a suitable size. You see, I develop a relationship with each of these fragments. As I stitch, a dialogue between what’s going on in my life and what’s happening on the fabric begins to take hold in my imagination. Soon after completing simple sashiko stitches which hold all the bits together, I typically start to “hear”, or perhaps “read”, a story in the making.

But this fragment was put away a few months ago, just as the circled two-strand stitches were finished. If I had begun to hear anything whispered from them, I did not write it down. And so, picking up the fragment and needle again early last week, I had no clue how to proceed with it. Was it a landscape? It seemed destined to be just that. An orange orb presiding over horizontal swaths of color certainly conjured a landscape in the making. Yet what was that rectangular shape there just right of center? Is it a house? A barn? Allowing curiosity to play a bit, I had an urge to place a blob of threads, trimmings from weavings, warp ends, and recent knitting bits.

In placing those bits at the base of the rectangle, it began to make sense. It’s a planter, a vase of some kind. And something wonderful is growing out of it, gracing the landscape, turning it into a garden which in the end turned out to produce roses…mostly blue, some sparkly and others white.

And so the story began, with words trailing each curled stitch and lined leaf. I’d like to hang out here a while…


There is a place inside my heart

Where Joy resides and from the start

She tends a sprawling garden there

Through every seasons’ needling cares.


She makes her way plowing rows

In desert soil she hopes it grows.

Working with hands through the night

She sows in tears, seeds of light.


She may not live to see the fruit

Her work sustains as plants take root.

And I observe through wind and gale

Joy undaunted though outcomes pale.


Together we walk the weedy path

And dream of a golden aftermath

When sorrow and joy flow mingled down…

For in this garden I am found.