On stitching and the quiet creation of stories with needle and thread.
A stitch is a small unit of thread that can join together with other stitches to create a meaningful design, repair a tear, or build a new seam. On its own, a stitch doesn’t amount to much, but a lot is possible when it connects with others. Stitches usually draw two things together.
An artist is like a stitch– connecting people with meaning and beauty, past and present, process and product, and the others around them. However, the work of an artist doesn’t mean much when it exists outside of the sphere of community. An object gathers its allure through the process, time, stories, relationships and activities that go into the final product.
Knitting, quilting, needlepoint, crochet, embroidery, cross-stitch, and other needlecrafts
exist as art forms that mix the practical with the beautiful. Handmade objects are inherently full of story, and the work of stitching is often carried out while in conversation with others. Creating stories with stitches is one small way to begin the work of healing, bringing hope, and repairing some of the tears in the fabric of our world.
Over the course of six months, I created this series of Story Samplers as a form of connection, creation, and contemplation. I worked on them as I met with friends, taught classes, and made a home. I stitched near the Eastern Shore of Virginia, at the kitchen table, at the homes of others. Stitch by stitch, these stories were formed. So, I share these stories with you in hopes of forming more connections.
“Most of us have figured out that we have to do what’s in front of us and keep doing it… Every time we choose the good action or response, the decent, the valuable, it builds, incrementally, to renewal, resurrection, the place of newness, freedom, justice…
We live stitch by stitch, when we’re lucky. If you fixate on the big picture, the whole shebang, the overview, you miss the stitching.”
Anne Lamott, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair