Sunday, April 22, 2012

Listening To Myself

Liz here this beautiful Spring Sunday. I have been madly stitching away on my Empty Spaces piece and all the while questioning just what the heck I am doing! I am hand stitching white on white. Is that insane or what? Why am I compelled to do this intensive amount of stitching when it isn't even obvious unless you are looking closely at the piece?

I have to confess...this isn't the first time I have caught myself doing this sort of barely visible stitching by hand. Each time I ask myself why. Why is it important to me do this sort of stitching? Do you ever talk to your art in progress? I do. All the time. Not out loud of course! Well, actually, now that I think about it I do sometimes talk to myself and my art out loud.

Here are some examples of what I mean--of the stitching not the talking out loud:

 In this one I even used beads that blend!

This isn't new, I have been doing this for years. I just sort of went with what my intuition told me and while I wondered why I needed to do this I didn't think too much about it. Though I have to admit to telling myself I am stupid for working this laboriously on my pieces.

While working on this  Empty Spaces piece the last couple months I have been traveling a lot; away from home about as much as I was home. This crazy need to add so much hand stitching was on my mind a lot.  Why couldn't I just quickly machine stitch this and be done with it, I asked myself over and over. I have a deadline and I didn't really have time for all this hand stitching that is hardly visible!  Then, on one boring flight (can't remember which one) I was mulling this over when I remembered what my friend Terry White said about my work. She said that what she loved about my work was the details. All of a sudden I had this big thought shift! I realized that these details are my way of inviting the viewer to slow down and look closer. All of this stitching is my way of saying: stop, be here now, allow yourself a moment to be, think and simply breathe. work was talking for me. My work is (hopefully) telling the viewer what I would tell them if I was standing there next to them.

Now, unfortunately, this piece has also told me that it isn't finished! It doesn't care about the deadline. It wants to be a diptych. I started out to make one small piece but it is insisting on including the questions I asked in my previous post; is empty space the positive or negative, the black or the white? And, of course it is insisting that a lot of hand stitching be included.  I could ignore it, call it done and spend the day reading outside but I would never feel right about the piece. As you can see in my sneak peek photo above that I have a bit of stitching in my immediate future.


Linda said...

Liz, I have similar conversations with myself. I love the details too and find hand sewing very relaxing whether it shows up or not. I like all of these pieces pictured in this post. Particularly the one on top.

Carol Sloan said...

I love the sneak peek! Can't wait to see it all.
(and oh yes, I talk to my def talks to me too)

Sue Bleiweiss said...

I love reading about where this piece is taking you Liz - can't wait to see the end result.

Deb Prewitt said...

I am anxiously awaiting the finished piece. I love that you do all that hand stitching and beading on your art work. I apparently don't have the patience for such things, but love the results when I do it. And yes I talk to myself all the time (as you well know).

Gloria Hansen said...

This is so fascinating, Liz! Yes, I talk to my work/myself all of the time. :)