I am non-verbal

I show up. Every day. for hours. and hours. It's a nest. This week has been particularly intense due to my goal of finishing a number of lingerers — those pieces that linger on the draft board without a finished edge, without a way to hang themselves, without a final yes in my final work-in-progress voting booth.

Here, Silent Witnesses is on the trimming board.

So I finished a few, hand-sewing facings and hanging sleeves. Fixing that little divot of stitching that bugged me. Adding just a bit more detail. Trimming excess.

I focused in on the details of craft.

My favorite thimble, a metal tipped silicone model, is a must have when finalizing the details of facings and hanging sleeves. This piece was done on canvas, so pushing the needle through the facing and fabric back proved difficult. I was tempted to just glue them down. But using an embroidery needle and pushing it through with that metal tip worked.

Refuge needed more marks and texture.

Finishing makes me edgy and still at the same time. I count stitches, measure space and drift into repetition. My brain goes into non-verbal mode. I look at the endless edge that needs turning and call upon my inner, resolute put-my-head-down-and-do-it mood that stops everything else. At the end my shoulders ache and I am eager to clear away the boards.

Scattered showers needed some rain.

Don't get me wrong, I can be distracted. Answering emails, looking for lunch companions, organizing one last shelf of collected debris provide respite. But finishing is its own reward. It stops a thought and allows it to move on. It shows the weaknesses of a piece and gives me an avenue to pursue the strengths.

The boards are cleared. Space allows new thoughts. Ready or not, here I come.


The piece I was working on last week transformed before my eyes after several hours of experimental stitching. The cloth is an old circular tablecloth that I dyed with a spray bottle filled with watered down dye. It was going to be an underskirt for my nuclear testing piece that is languishing in the corner of the studio.
I pulled it out of the experiment pile last Friday and folded it in half, then cut it into two wedge pieces so that I could try some stitching ideas I had. The stitching exercise gave me some great textures. It started with random straight lines that went across the piece higgledy piggledy to anchor the cloth.

Then at each new bobbin I changed the color of the thread to add more interest. Eventually a wonky grid emerged. As the grid grew I noticed that at the junctions of the navy blue lines there was a sense of dominance. So I decided to reinforce that by starting a new line of thread (in black) that started at the juncture and traveled on in a wavy line across the piece. Letting the thread ends hang.

As the thread ends started to accumulate I had to figure out how to handle them. Bury them? let them hang? cut them off? Tie them together? I loved the extra texture the thread was giving me but the thread ends were obscuring the texture below so I decided to nail them down with a spiral of stitches and trim them off. It was then that I realized I had created a terrain of sorts with little focus points that could represent targets.

Laying the stitched cloth over the remaining wedge of fabric made me stop in my tracks. Suddenly it all made sense. This piece is about a land ravaged, surrendering to chaos and on the edge. The stitched piece created a shoreline over the second wedge.

The edges are raw. The threads are chaotic.

And now I am hand stitching trails, individuals and groups across the void. Moving them toward the calm and away from the chaos.