Sometimes my blog post are simple journal entries sharing what I've been doing in my life with my family, my everyday life, my textile life or my globetrotting life. Sometimes they respond to something another blogger has posted. Just once in a while they get all philosophical, this is one of those occasions.
My last post showed photographs of my progress on the embroidery piece I started in a workshop last week. Local Julie, Julie in Japan, Blandina and Queenie all commented on the post which contrasted that embroidery with the stitching on the prayer flags I have been making. Their comments, in praise of one style of stitching or the other set me thinking. I was working on the intricate embroidery this morning, hoping to get this flower finished before it got too warm and muggy to sew and wondering why I wasn't enjoying it, even though it was going well….
My friends and family would describe me, in degrees ranging from affection to exasperation, as “a leader”, “OCD”, “a control freak”, “rigid”, “controlling”, “an organiser”, “bossy”; you get the idea!!
This view of me seems to contrast completely with the projects I am currently enjoying in textiles, the eco-dyeing, the prayer flags, the boro-style pieces, and would rather seem to suit the accurate, precise embroidery project.
But I love the prayer flags and am not enjoying the embroidery.
If the embroidery was going badly I can imagine that I would dismiss it as “not for me”. By declaring it not my thing I would avoid having to admit that I wasn't very good at it, that, heaven forbid, I had “failed”.
If I could conjure precise colours and designs from the eco-dyeing cauldron (oh, how I wish I had a cauldron, but the preserving pan is doing the job) and if I made the prayer flags and boro pieces geometrically accurate then I think they would suit my controlling character trait.
I don't want predictable colours, if I did I could use chemical Procion dyes.
I don't want mini “Round the World” or “9 Patch” design prayer flags and quilts in indigo, all accurate squares and nice, neat seams all meeting at the right place.
I don't want embroidery stitches that look as if they could have been done on a machine (okay, so I'm not THAT good).
So, the conclusion I reached, while doing those tiny chain stitches, is that textiles are probably my safety valve. I can be led by the fabric and the stitches rather than controlling them, I am surprised by the results from the natural dyes and can't regulate them and my pieces are fluid and relaxed, not rigid. The me who works with textiles is my
alter ego |ˌaltər ˈɛgəʊ, ˌɒlt-, ˈiːg-|
noun ( pl. alter egos )
a person's secondary or alternative personality.
• an intimate and trusted friend.
ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: Latin, ‘other self’.