Sunday, 8 January 2012

....stitching symbols....looking back...looking forward...

Ok......so it HAD to be done...

Penny was right...

...I wouldn't be able to resist turning some of those sketchbook images into stitched "somethings"!

The first had to be the sun...



..stitched onto exhaust-dyed cotton with brown hand-dyed thread.

(The "exhaust" being the leftover juice after dying the brown thread)

The next two are a mystery to me...

...and if anyone can tell me what the symbols represent, I'd be most grateful :-)




Here are a few more pages that may well inspire something later on..





January, the month of Janus, seems to have prompted quite a lot of "looking back" this year. Many bloggers are talking about it, and I can see myself joining their numbers.

I find that most of what I do is inspired by what has gone before. Old traditions that are, sadly, being lost to us now in our world of fast-moving technology.

So many arts and crafts and skills are disappearing because of the changes in people's lifestyles and requirements.

I noticed in Morocco...high up in the Atlas mountains....Berber villages, small clusters of houses...crowned with satellite dishes!



Time that would have been spent doing traditional hand-crafts is now taken up watching TV, and, with more cheap, mass-produced items available to buy, less importance is being placed on hand-made things.....even to the point where something that is bought has a higher perceived value.

The textiles that were so prized in tribal cultures are now to be found in auctions on Ebay, and being sold in shops specializing in such things. The buyers are mostly "westerners" who cannot get enough of the things that the original owners are quite happy to sell. Those of us that collect, therefore, are becoming the custodians of past hand-made treasures.

I certainly feel very sad that women in these (loosely) "tribal" cultures, are no longer inclined to stitch as they used to do.... (although I am aware of a number of groups that have been set up to give women the opportunity to produce textiles for sale in order to give themselves a much-needed income - in Iran and Afghanistan especially)...and have, recently, been spending time working with designs from far afield.

I get an immense amount of pleasure out of stitching something that I know would have been done by another woman 50, 100, or 200 years ago....

...and it is a path I will continue to follow.

I will walk with these women. They will be my companions as I sit and stitch.

I certainly thought about them whilst making these small bands in Ukrainian cross-stitch...



I like the feeling of being "connected"...

...and of carrying on traditions, even though, originally, they may not have been from my own culture.


We are living in fast-moving times, yet there are still many things we can gain from "looking back", and I was heartened to speak to a number of lovely ladies at The Knitting & Stitching Show at Harrogate....who were looking for "stitchy" things to do with (mostly) their grand-daughters. Many had similar memories to my own...of women in their families knitting or embroidering, and passing on these skills to their daughters and nieces.

I hope that, somehow, us textile-lovers here in Blogland, can help the younger generation find the same enjoyment in working with fabrics and threads as we do.