I arrived home from New Zealand the day before yesterday, and along with unpacking and doing the laundry, I had the task of going through all the mail that had arrived in my absence. In amongst all the bills and bank statements and other less-than-exciting mail was the Spring 2016 issue of Canadian Quilter. Marcy Horswill, who is now the editor of the magazine and also a good friend, had watched me working on my Traveller's Blanket and had suggested that I might like to write an article on Slow Stitching for this publication, which I was happy to do.
I turned to page 42 and there it was, including some photos of recent work that has included hand-stitching. I must say that it's always a bit of a rush to see one's work and words in print, and I quickly read through the article to see if I'd managed to say what I'd wanted to say. As is often the case, I recognized that I could have improved on a thing or two, or possibly added to the content, but overall this reelection on the joys and merits of working more slowly, more intentionally, and thus connecting better with both the process and the materials used in handwork still holds true for me.
A couple of weeks after I'd submitted the article, I came across a review of this new book - "Slow Stitch", by Claire Wellesely Smith. I had ordered it from Amazon (oh how I love to get books in the mail!), and so it was waiting for me too, and yesterday I began to read it. In it, Claire says:
"I see a slow approach as a celebration of process, work that has reflection at its heart and skill that takes time to learn. By slowing down my own textile practice, I have developed a deeper emotional commitment to it, to the themes I am exploring, and to the processes I use."
So well said, and in a volume that's lavishly illustrated with both her own work and the work of other artists, I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about this way of working.
Many of those who quilt and stitch are also knitters, and so you will appreciate the third "welcome home" surprise I received - a hand-knitted scarf made for me by my friend Trudy. Knitting has the same sorts of rhythm to it as slow stitching .- the same sort of meditative quality and intentionality. There's something about working with your hands that cannot be replicated by any machine. I so appreciate the colours in this scarf, as well as the work and the thought that went into it. Not to mention that it's keeping me warm as I adjust to late winter/early spring after two months of summer. So all in all, it's been a great time of home-coming. I will miss our New Zealand family, but will hopefully be able to return again next year. In the meantime, it's time to pick up my stitching . . .