For centuries women have used cloth as a tool of comfort and as an expression of beauty within their homes. Creating cloth for warmth, cloth for shelter, our female predecessors embellished these linens with hand stitch using laborious and time consuming techniques thereby enhancing the functional beauty of objects which enveloped and protected their families. Inspired by these women I hope my creations pay tribute to and recognise the devotion expressed in cloth by our female ancestors .

''the use of traditional often time consuming process alludes to the devotion of a mother''. c K. A. Ruane 2007

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Please bear with me a while....

I'm in a funny kind of mood today, hence the title of this post. A little bit down yet a little bit up (maybe just a little bit unstable, who knows) So the reason I ask that you bear with me is that I think this is going to be a strange kind of post. For a while now I have been wondering if I should take a break from blogging. Not a massive break, a couple of weeks maybe. Putting it all out here was prompted by this post by Nicola. I totally know how she feels and that realisation of not making it on creativity alone dawned on me a long time ago, the reason for the day job. Where I do differ from Nicola is her thoughts on 'blogworld'. When I have had terrible lows in the past, when I don't ever seem to sell anything or I am having a crisis embroidery wise, it has been you that has kept me going, given me encouragement and a kick up the backside. Your success also spurs me on, some of you are far more successful than me and that gives me the drive to wait for 'my time'. It's got to come, right?
Back to the break from blogging. I sometimes wonder if what I achieve is the best I can achieve and I really think the answer is no. That is totally down to me and the fact that I am so obsessed with 'keeping visible' in blog world that I make the quickest, not necessarily the best that I can. So I thought that maybe if I took a little break I could focus on making quality and regain a little bit of my artistic integrity. I haven't made a decision yet, I need to be sure that I can bear the drop in stats, comments, contact etc. My latest piece is such a good example of what I am talking about. The fact that I wanted to finish this in order to post and not miss my regular pattern had me looking for a 'quick fix'. I have been working on this patchwork swaddling band, it grows VERY slowly, and I love that. My work is all about laborious and time consuming but that's no good for the frequency I like to post at. So the quick fix had me rooting out this edge I made as a sample years ago, placing it next to the band and wondering how it would work.

O.K. so it looks allright, but only allright. What would I do with this band if time wasn't an issue? I would do what I truly think would represent how I feel about these pieces. Swaddling, wrapping, binding, protecting, enveloping your child. Fastening them, securing them, making them safe. The same reason I make anything. I have posted images here of something I made as part of my degree course. I call this 'comfort', a kind of sleeping bag, metaphorcally for both my kids, they can be fastened in tightly with a zip, kept safe and warm.

Beautifully decorated and hand painted it mirrors how we all want life to be for our children. This is how I want my work to be, I want to recapture all the motivation I feel I have lost by responding to time pressure and ignoring my love of cloth and my reasons for that.

For all these reasons 'swaddling band one' will be my new start. It will have a zip to fasten my kids in, it will have a pocket to place my emotion in. It will have a beautifully embellished inside, it will take an age to make but I don't care. It will be ME, it will say everything there is to say about why I do this, why I love this.

Well, there it is, my guts well and truly spilt. I haven't made a decision on the blogging break yet, I will see how it goes with this new piece. Wish me luck!!
p.s. Thanks so much for all the comments on the sewing machine. I have some really good advice there. I am going to get it professionally cleaned and hunt down a manual.


Robin said...

"That is totally down to me and the fact that I am so obsessed with 'keeping visible' in blog world that I make the quickest, not necessarily the best that I can."

I think for most of us who follow your blog, or any blog, the volume of posts is not important. I'm not very experienced in blog-land, and maybe I'm just speaking for myself, but whether you are posting daily, weekly or even monthly, I'm still going to keep reading your blog. I really admire what you do and think your work is so lovely. For me, blogging comes second to creating, and if people don't read my blog because I don't post enough, then I think they probably don't really get what I do or what I'm about. So give yourself the space you need to create at your own pace. We won't stop reading! I know I won't :-) Kind regards, Robin

méri said...

Of course I'll whish you luck!
Do whatever you like!
I think that the ups and downs happen to everybody. You must blog with pleasure not obligation. You need time to be creative and if blogging robs your time make a pause of course.

You may be sure of one thing: your work is one of the most exquisite works in this blogland!

Miss 376 said...

You need to be true to yourself and take the time to create in the way that is best for you. I love seeing what you create and whenever you post about it, I'll enjoy it and gain inspiration from it. I would hate to feel that blogging was taking you away from where you wanted to be. Jane x

Diane said...

I think your work is wonderful and I encourage you to never let anything pressure you to do less than what you really want to do. SInce I stunbled upon your blog I look forward with great anticipation to each and every one of your posts...but even if you slowed down on how often you posted I would continue coming back. I read many blogs but there are only two that I recommended to my sister. Yours was one of them.

jude said...

do what you have to do. your work is exquisite and just knowing that you are stitching is enough for me. i hear you loud and clear.

Kayla coo said...

I agree with all the comments above.
Some art work can take no time at all, other the very nature of it can take a life time.
I think you should go with your flow, indeed you could share just pictures of your fabrics and threads, inspirations.
What ever you do I will always enjoy your beautiful work.

Gina said...

Whatever you decide karen, good luck!

Anonymous said...

I understand how you feel. I have highs and lows with blogging - and I often wonder why i even bother with it at all - but i enjoy the contact with others, and it does help spur me on. recently i have been thinking the same - im not really producing much that is showable and I am thinking how long before people just give up and stop reading. I think like robin said - reducing the frequesncy of posts might help. most people read in a reader these days so it doesnt matter how infrequently you post

do what you need to do, take a break, slow down,

Victoria said...

Oh, I so get where you are coming from. I often feel the same way, and ponder the same questions. Blogging has a bittersweet aspect to it. A whole wonderful world opens up because of it, but it demands time, and even with all of the positive feedback, it can also create insecurities. How do we keep delivering? If they like me today, will they like me tomorrow? We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, and I personally feel that my own work is getting sorely neglected, part from blogging and part from opening the 2nd Etsy shop. If you do take a blog break, we will all still be here to welcome you back when you are ready. (I think in our own time many of us bloggers will need to take some sort of break, and hopefully we will all support and encourage each other, as well as welcome each other back upon the return to blogland.) Best wishes on what ever you decide!

Jacky said...

I love reading your blog and seeing your gorgeous cloths evolve. Your stitchery is amazing and an inspiration to many of us, but you shouldnt feel any obligation to blog.

For myself I try and blog once a week, and try and show something I have made or am working on...that isnt always possible though. I do find though that blogging helps me to keep finding some time to sit and stitch or paint.

Whatever your decision, I will always enjoy popping by to see if you have posted.

Laura Lea said...

I enjoy looking at your lovely stitching. I admire the time you take on each piece. I wish you the peace of mind to do what is in your best interest. I will be eagerly awaiting your return and hoping to see what treasures you produce. Take the time you need for re creation.

Ulla said...

I join the chorus here. Your posts are always worth waiting for! They are worth reading again, too, if there is not a new post to read. Just post when you feel the need to post something, we will be there.

Hotter Than... said...

I love seeing your work - it makes me think about things in new ways. That said you have to do what's right for you.

I hope you find a way forward - it sounds like you're getting there. Soemtimes just voicing those concerns helps.

Good luck

Guzzisue said...

remember as Meri said "You must blog with pleasure not obligation." If it becomes a chore then reduce your posts for a while, then see how you feel :-)

PAULE said...

I would like to thank you for all the comments. I'm not as talented as Karen but they helped me throught my "blogging blues"

Tenar said...

I admire your work very much, I love how you combine the traditional and the contemporary. As everybody else said, thing that matters is that you stay true to yourself and keep up the good work, not how often you post.
I can relate to your trouble, I have been struggling to balance blogging/creating/ sleeping enough since I have a day job again. But i found that my readers are remarkably faithful, they come back every time there is something new.
Sometimes I do create something quick and easy to have something to blog about, or I do filler postings with stuff like links or inspirational photographs. Maybe these are habits I should think over.