Sunday, April 26, 2020

Last week on Art With a Needle

I may have sewed my last mask, and delivered it Sunday afternoon.  And to celebrate, I spent most of the weekend cleaning up my studio.  Not that it will ever get "clean," but all the fabric from the masks has been folded up and put back in the drawers, and lots of other bits and pieces have been sorted and put away.  I'm doing make-work while trying to discern what I want to do next -- sew or make sculpture.  Both of them call to me, but neither voice is loud enough to drown out the other.

Meanwhile I've been doing some hand stitching onto silk scraps, some of them from the kimono project that we did in our local textile art group a couple of years ago.  Here's one piece in progress:

I'm also auditioning some bits and pieces of old textiles for another hand-stitched piece.  When I sent a photo of this composition to my dear friend Uta Lenk last week, she wasn't very impressed.

She wrote back:  "The current setting looks so much like flower pot on the balcony that it's not really Kathy."

I wrote back: "I agree that the quilt and edging are a bit sweetie for my usual style, but you're allowed to change up your style now and then, don't you think?  Maybe I need to make a smaller composition with the quilt block and edging and a little bit of something else, and save the kimono scrap and red doodad for a second piece.  I guess I will let this simmer for a bit." 

She responded:  "I am all for developing new style -- but I think you would want to become more sophisticated and artistic and not revert to making flower pots that look like that quilt block with the basket."

Well, with that resounding vote of no confidence from someone whose artistic judgment I greatly respect, I have removed the bottom half of the composition and am letting the two pieces wait to tell me what they want to do.  I hope one of them speaks up pretty soon because I need another hand-stitching project.  We have piled up some TV shows that I want to watch upstairs with Ken, not down in the studio, so I need something to do while watching.


  1. It's good to have an honest friend like Uta. I'm afraid I agree with her 100% percent. This isolation is getting to all of us.

  2. My struggle is somewhat similar. I keep putting together small collage-y pieces for hand stitching while watching tv. But then I look at them and realize that I have absolutely no interest in doing the work, as the piece itself has no interest for me and no potential for becoming anything more than a "make work" exercise.

  3. There is a very, very large and private FB page called Stitch Meditations. While I personally agree with UTA on the second photo (my leanings toward art interfere with any appreciation I might have with flowered edging), I really like the qualities of the first. The group wanders between large embroidered pieces to these fantastic little pieces that embody the concept of stitch meditation. I've done both - larger pieces and smaller concept pieces. Mine tend to take longer not so much because they're larger but because I tend toward thinking about them too much. But the meditative aspect of pushing a needle through fabric with or without purpose - I'm all in.

  4. All of these points are valid, but sometimes, a girl just wants to have fun. We don't always have to be creating a masterpiece, though it would be nice. I took a Mary Kerr class where she helped us take an old block or several and try to figure out a "modern" setting. She has several books out on this subject. It's amazing what a person can do with a couple of four patches or antique blocks placed strategically and some magical quilting (by check or self.) I can't wait to see what you come up with!