I’ve been…..

I’ve been…. doing a number of things. Lots of work, for one, but I’ve managed to keep going with stitching too. I’m currently working on a large sample piece, exploring squares (yet again). Here’s a photo of where I’m up to with it:Embroidery 27 6 17

I’m fairly sure I’ve blogged about the importance of constraints in the past. At the moment I’m constrained by what I’ve got available because most of my stitching materials are in storage. So, when I was planning this rather large sample piece, I was making do with the range of colours and materials I have available. Regular readers of this blog will recognise the square, pretty much my favourite shape, but in this case I’ve added in a few circles as well. This piece comprises 9 x 9 x 2 inch squares, so its overall size is 18″ x 18″. It’s made mostly out of squares of cotton, and a few squares of silk, left over from other things. The cotton is dress fabrics, batiks and a bit of quilting cotton in plain colours. It all goes together quite well, although it’s a bit bulky in places because I’ve left relatively large seam allowances. This is to take account of the silk, which tends to fray. But it’s quite easy to sew through.

You can’t see from this photo, but there is an attempt at a coherent design in this. I haven’t just stuck the colours together at random. If I get it finished (will I, won’t I? Don’t know) I’ll try to get it all into one photograph.

I’ve been posting regular updates on Instagram, and will continue to do this. So, if you don’t see any more on the blog about this, have a look on Instagram. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m enjoying Instagram.

Social media

So… social media….if you’ve read the last few entries, you’ll know that I’ve been somewhat absent from this blog lately. But, on the other hand, I have been fairly regular in posting photos on Instagram. (If you want to have a look at what I’ve been doing you can click on the Instagram icon on my home page). This is an ideal medium to use while you’re on the move as all you need is your phone and a minute or two to share a photograph. It requires no planning, minimal time and little thought. So, what’s not to like?

Well, nothing really, except that I can see that enthusiasm for Instagram could conceivably get out of hand. What’s gratifying about it is the feedback which is almost instantaneous in some cases. When you’ve spent some time working on something as labour-intensive as hand embroidery, it’s wonderfully affirming and validating to get somebody ‘liking’ what you’ve produced. It’s also very satisfying and interesting to see what the people you follow are up to, so that you can ‘like’ what they’ve been working on. It’s a kind of virtuous circle where you can keep up with work you like, whilst also receiving some recognition for your own. And yet….. I can see how it could easily become obsessive.

A few weeks ago, I read an interesting post on a blog that I follow. It was about Facebook, and the blogger detailed her concerns about her habit of looking far too frequently at Facebook for updates, and to receive validation of what she’d been doing. I found this very interesting and spent a bit of time constructing a suitable comment. But then, when I accessed the blog again, a couple of hours later, I found that the original post about Facebook had disappeared. The blogger must have thought better of it, and must have taken it down. I find this even more interesting. Perhaps it just felt too…. revealing? I won’t, of course, say who it was, but I found it interesting that even someone who is well-known in her field and who is a sober and thoughtful commentator, would feel the need for constant validation via Facebook. I had supposed that the gratification I get from Instagram would diminish over time if I got more followers and more ‘likes’ because it would all become very familiar. But what if it doesn’t? What if it becomes a bad habit? Clearly, I’m going to have to watch myself. And, perhaps, I need to avoid Facebook. I’ve been tempted from time to time to set up on Facebook, but have not done so, because I can see it would waste even more time that I haven’t got, for dubious benefits.

In the meantime, here is one of the photos I shared a while back on Instagram:Running stitch, colour




Well, Instagram, there’s a new thing. And a new icon on the front page of this website. I’m rather hesitant about adopting new social media, simply because of the additional time it soaks up. So, having developed my own website (and here you are, reading it!) and my Pinterest pages, I’ve waited a long time before doing anything else. I keep on toying with the idea of Facebook, and I may get round to it sometime. In the meantime, Instagram. The catalyst for this was reading about an Australian textile artist, Liz Payne, who said in an interview that she’d been very lucky to meet other artists through Instagram. This really struck a chord with me. I’ve very much enjoyed keeping this blog going, and I hope to continue writing it for some time to come. But I can’t say that it’s been ideal for meeting other artists, or anyone else for that matter. I had hoped when I started it, well over two and a half years ago, that it would generate comments, and I would be able to get into conversation, online or offline, with other people who shared my interests. This hasn’t happened. I’ve had a handful of comments, some of them from people I know anyway in the real world, and there haven’t been any significant conversation starters. Really, I’ve been talking to myself here.

There are some advantages in having a conversation with yourself, recorded in a specific place. It’s a bit like keeping a diary, a thing I’ve never been able to do consistently. This is my best attempt yet. And it’s a useful record for me of events, feelings and experiences that I might otherwise forget. I quite like reading through my blogposts; it reminds me of what I thought about things at a particular point in time.

instagram-logoSo, will Instagram be any different? Don’t know. I think it will certainly be easier to keep going, as it’s just a case of taking a photo, maybe doing a bit of photo editing, then adding a comment, then whoosh, it’s out there. I got my account set up on Saturday, then posted a few pictures to it and it was all hassle-free and easy. At the time of writing this (and I will schedule this post for publication some time this week) I had five photos of my current sample stitching, and a charming cat photograph. I don’t intend to photograph the cat on a regular basis, but yesterday I thought she was lost and was so relieved when she came home that I shared the moment with my extant followers (who numbered two at the time) – my daughter and one of her best friends. This morning, another of daughter’s best friends started to follow me, so at the time of writing this I rejoice in three followers.

Incidentally, do look up Liz Payne’s very beautiful work. I was alerted to it by Pinterest, which I do absolutely love looking at. I really like the way she’s created something very original and unusual through the medium of embroidery in wool. This serves to demonstrate how something new is always possible, even using only old methods and materials.

If you’d like to see my Instagram pages, please click here, or click on the icon on my home page.