Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Growing up, my first craft was embroidery. I have no idea how that happened but there a number of works in my parent's house from my childhood days that are really lovely. (No one launders linen as beautifully as my mother. The embroidered napkins I did when I was 12 still look as fresh as they did 35 years ago.) As a result, I continue to love needle art and textiles and keep an eye on what is happening in this world. I had not heard of embroiderer Tilleke Schwarz, but the minute I saw the cover of her book in FiberArts magazine, I knew that I had to see more of her work. I don't know if she would use the word folkloric to describe herself, but it's a compliment I would give her. There is no pattern or design to her pieces (except what is in her head) but her ability to use words, stitch and image to evoke her own world simply bowls me over. It's what I wish I could be doing.
And in fact, it's been the inspiration to help me take up a simple exercise that I could never do before: keeping a creative journal. I've kept a written journal for years, but somehow putting down ideas, images and sketches for my creative work seemed the scariest thing in the world. Whole books have been written about this frustration, so I won't go on any further about it. Except to say, that the simplicity and honesty of Tilleke's art gave me enough heart to try some things myself. (I also found that if I did a few pages before going to bed...as opposed to doing it in the morning...it took the pressure off of me to develop it.) It's truly become an exercise, which is exactly what I wanted.
I should add that there is a wonderful and helpful introductory essay to Tilleke's book written by Dr. Jessica Hemmings and charmingly translated into English.