Mindless or Mindful - the joy of process
Not everybody would find pleasure in stitching so many metres of straight lines but, thankfully, I do. With an average speed of 20 metres per hour it has taken over 22 hours to complete the background quilting on this large Ruins piece. Keeping the lines straight and equally spaced requires just enough concentration to stop this being a mindless task. Instead I have found it to be mindful. Whilst stitching my mind stops racing, stops worrying, stops trying to solve all the problems in my life.
I've hinted at some 'life' issues in previous posts. For the last few months my husband and I have been providing 24 hour care for our eldest son who has been in a very dark and troubled state of mind. It has been a distressing and exhausting time. Although we have had great support from our family, friends and from my 'day job' I don't think I could have coped without having my studio and my art to take refuge in. Working in series has meant that there has always been something to work on. From stitching straight lines on days when my mind needed calming to composing new pieces on days when I have felt stronger. There is a simple joy in stepping into a studio full of colour, in working with cloth, in stitching straight lines!
Over the last few weeks I have also pieced together another large scale Ruins piece. The composition of the background is quite different from the earlier works and it took me a long time to audition all the 'bricks' into a something that I was happy with. Tiredness probably played a part as I'm usually much more confident when I am working on composition. The piece is 275cm wide by 140cm high and has 'light', 'medium' and 'dark' bands. Over the coming weeks I will stitch using many, many more parallel lines. Some would find the prospect boring or maybe even intimidating - me, if find it joyful.