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

Sunday, February 14, 2010


My latest ''work in progress''. French knots to feed the addiction, cross stitch borders to feed my need for order and uniformity, folded images because that's what I do when I can't get a good image of the ''whole''. This piece needs more, I lay awake last night wondering what ''more'' could be. I think I have the answer but it will have to wait until I have made progress with my transfer and applique piece. I always want to create the best pieces I can, if I'm not happy with them then they generally end up in the bin but I am always panicking about time. Will I have time to do that? Will I be able to create enough for the fair? Why can't there be 36 hours in a day and ten days in a week. Then I think if I spent less time worrying about time I might get more done. But would I? the worrying is in my head, the stitching can be done at the same time. Suffice to say I am sick and tired of feeling I don't have enough time. Just got to keep going until the doors open, what else can I do?

I have a question for you now, one already asked on my facebook page with a good response I am happy to say. If you were to attend a workshop given by me, what would you expect to learn? Come away with? achieve? I ask this because I am constantly being asked if I give workshops. One of the reasons I don't is because my stuff takes so long I can't think of anything you could make in a day. Would it be enough to show a process, share some ideas and techniques? Maybe you could go away with a sample, develop it in your own time. Could I provide follow on support through e-mail? As you can probably tell my head is full of questions, worries about time, ideas, it can be hard to achieve any clarity with everything whirling around in there! Any ideas or suggestions would be really welcome. (except for the one about therapy, it's been suggested many times already!!)
Right......goggles that hide the housework....many of you have asked where to get them. Well you can't buy them, you need to make them yourself, you only need on thing, denial! See you soon.


Gina said...

I think it would be brilliant to learn the process, a technique, share an idea and go away with a sample that could be developed.

Mark said...

I believe you should start with a list of outcomes from your class. Just what do you want your students to learn in the class? What is feasible for them to learn in the time frame. Work backwards from the end. What types of handouts or guides can you give them to help them beyond the class? You could set up a members only flickr page for your class attendees to share their efforts, which will take the heat off of you to provide additional time and effort, but you could also pop in to the forum now and then with opinions.

I think developing some sort of timeline/arc for your projects would be a good visual thing to show to the students.

Amanda Sheridan said...

Rather than a physical workshop, had you thought about maybe doing an online course?

Oh, and while I'm here, there's a little something for you over on my blog. Enjoy!

I would have nominated you too Gina but Myfanwy beat me to it!

deanna7trees said...

I love the work you do and would LOVE an online class. Showing your process, sharing some ideas and techniques would be perfect. Where do I sign up. Your work is just beautiful.

karen said...

I'm not sure about the online classes, would take a lot of planning, photography, I wouldn't be ''on hand'' to demonstrate, it throws up a lot of potential problems. It is something else to put in my head though, we shall see.

meplusmolly said...

I understand your reticence about an online class but I think it may be well worth considering.
Put all the work in, (and I know it would be a lot!) but you can demonstrate in 'videos' done of each process, have a yahoo group for chatting and like Mark said a Flickr group for posting work and comments in. It would also allow people from all over the globe to take part in your workshops then. And they could all just pay via paypal, which we thankfully all have these days.
I'm taking part myself in an online workshop and from what has been provided - videos, pdf info, yahoo group, flickr, class blog, access to 'tutor' via email etc, an enormous amount of work has gone into it but from my point of view it looks like it's definitely been worth it, the number of people signed up just for the class I'm doing is extremely good.
Be seeing you soon! ;0 X

Miss 376 said...

You always worry about time, but you always have enough when the time comes.
Workshop ideas-french knots! how on earth do you do so many, so uniform and still love them at the end of the day
(lol, verification word=swoon)

Elizabeth said...

Hej Karen,

A number of people already gave good advice so that base is covered. But there is something else.

Karen, you create magnificent pieces, each time I'm amazed by their beauty.

Since allow is my verification word I allow myself to ask you the next question but it is only for you to think about. Your time is precious and your need to create your art is like a burning fire. Will teaching embroidery forfill you the same way?

If it is go for it and everything will sort itself out maybe with some help. If not than I hope you will reconsider and please don't feel pressured down a road that isn't really yours.

Lots of valentine greetings from Denmark.

Jacky said...

Absolutely stunning Karen. Those cross stitch borders/swags with the drapes of french knots is inspired...where do you come up with all of these ideas?
Love it!
Maybe you should think of online classes too. You could do that over a longer period of time (and then overseas people can also partake).

Jacky xox

lindaschiffer said...

I think the study of making 'Slow Cloth' items is tailor-made for online classes! There are two sites I know of that do well with the organizing and publicizing -- Joggles and Quilt University. I have personally taken classes in both venues happily.

:) Linda

meandering pearl said...

Hi! this is a wonderful idea!!! i see alot of people doing online classes now, that way you can leave the instructions up for 6 weeks or something, so people have more time. but maybe in a shorter workshop you could do a small pincushion with just a small amount of french knotting, say a flower or two, so they get the idea, & a little something special to walk away with? or evn maybe a little brooch or not sure how long that would take so its just a suggestion...
as always your work stuns me!!! beautiful wishes

Yvette Stanton said...

Hi Karen,

As I am extremely partial to whitework, I love seeing the photos of your recent creation! Very nice!


Threadspider said...

Beautiful stitching Karen_ inever tire of white on white.
As fpr the course-there is plenty of wise advice above but I am wondering if you already have the offer of a venue? You could combine the best of both worlds by giving a real, in-person tutorial, for which there will be prep. for you to do, but afterwards, when you see how it has gone, put the course on line.By which time you will be able to see what has worked.

meri said...

Despite my verification word is not "allow" I subscribe all Elizabeth from Denmark's words :)

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Hi Karen,
I would expect to come away having completed an heirloom tablecloth... Just kidding! Course I am!
Hmmm... I think you could move on to online after seeing how the face to face goes, building up your confidence with a couple of different workshops, get to know if there is a place where special problems occur with your learners. But yes, having read your more recent post, I do think face to face is the way to go, for all the reasons you say, including the fact that online scares you!
As for what - well, it is always nice to come away with something completed, so how about a small Christmas tree decoration as an idea?
And I do think this is a good thing for you to be doing! Hope you can do it - good luck!
These photos of your latest piece are gorgeous! Hope half term was good for you,

deanna7trees said...

I'm sure a Christmas tree decoration would appeal to lots of people but some of us do not celebrate Christmas. I would think it would be better to make it something that is not attached to a religous celebration.