My mother passed away in mid April, in the midst of Passover. After the holiday was over, I observed the Shiva, the week of mourning. But seven days don’t really ease the pain brought on by the loss of a parent.
Following my father’s passing three years ago, I immersed myself in hand stitching. The slow pace gave me the time and space to process my loss. This time, I thought I should follow my mother’s earlier advice, and submerge myself in cheerful spring colors. The miracle of spring was all around me, after all, and there was strong magic in its abundance of life. So I spent lots of time in the garden, and surrounded myself with spring colors in the studio as well.
I wanted to work on something small and manageable, something happy, something that would keep my hands busy even when my mind wandered. So I started a new series.
Many of the series I work on make their own rules. This one was no exception:
- A total of six artworks
- Each 5″ x 5.”
- They were to be made out of fresh-colored scraps.
- Each had to include one piece of a beautiful sari silk ribbon I purchased shortly before. (on the left hand side of the following picture).
A Slow Process
Playing with different scrap combinations to build compositions was blissfully distracting.
Matching thread to fabric was enjoyable.
I was lucky that the SAQA annual conference happened to take place immediately after the Shiva. For ten days, I listened to interesting art and textile talks, which kept my mind from drifting into dark places. I was able to do some hand stitching while listening to the lectures, which was doubly relaxing.
I couldn’t work every day. Some days I was too upset, and needed to do something else. Some days I couldn’t do much at all, and gave myself the permission to idle. I progressed very slowly, therefore, doing only what I could when I could, a little at a time. A bit of hand stitching here, some machine mark making there.
Often, several days would pass without me even touching these pieces. And that was OK.
At one point I suddenly remembered my box of colorful wooden beads. I haven’t used them in a long time, and almost forgot I had them! In they went.
The last touch involved stenciling with Inktense pencils, followed by highlights with acrylic markers.
The Finished Artworks
Here they are, all six spring-colored pieces:
They helped me during a difficult time in my life. I hope their cheerfulness might cheer others who also need cheering.