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, November 27, 2011

paper, thread, stitch and sketchbooks





I have been AWOL for two whole days, totally unplanned. Well Friday was planned, I went to the Knitting and Stitching show. I came away with very little in terms of purchasing but brain food? I came away with plenty of that. After browsing for hours I was inspired to buy very little. That however told me something......I am not attracted to buy things because they aren't what I need. I have what I need here, plenty of white, plenty of lace, plenty of cloth, thread and inspirational sketchbooks. Basically, there wont be a change of direction because I am who I am....and now I know that it's fine. It's OK to keep on with what I do. Blame it on jet lag, blame it on a flu injection. Who Knows? I don't care. Let's hope that's my creative wobbling over for a long, long time!
With that in mind I added more to the sketchbook page I've been working on and whilst I was doing that decided I needed something for me. For a while now I have been a little preoccupied with pockets. Since I made this one actually. So I am making myself a pocket. Just a pocket, not a hanging or a panel...just a pocket. I will show you more of the embroidery tomorrow, for now it is just lying next to sketchbooks. It will be a very special pocket though. The floral fabric I am using in a small area is cloth taken from my Great Grandmothers nightgown. I have never had the whole nightgown and have no idea what happened to it. I was merely given a tiny piece of cloth some time ago and told that it had come from a nightgown belonging to her, Florence Garstang....a midwife. I have met her, as a small child. She passed away when I was about 7...but I do remember her. Nurse Garstang as she was known was awarded a medal after the Second World War in recognition of her bravery delivering babies under the constant bombing that took place over the town where I was born. I only hope I can do her memory justice with my pocket.

16 comments:

Hoola Tallulah said...

I do love your sketchbooks, and am fascinated as to how you work stitch on paper (I need to learn more about that). I have just been awarded a bursary to study embroidery and am itching to get started on sketchbooks as part of my studying, it is a process I am not familiar with (am rather impulsive and tend to just dive in and do). As ever, your blog is awesomely inspiring!

Lois Evensen said...

Hi! So nice to see you back and thanks for dropping by my blog.

I'm with you about not buying what I don't need. When I am looking/shopping sometimes something jumps out at me, but I can pass all the rest and leave it in the store.

Yes, going home is fantastic! We are so happy to be spending the holidays at home with the family after ten weeks away.

All the best,
Lois

deanna7trees said...

a pocket in memory of great grandma is such a great idea. and that you have a piece of her nightgown will make it even more special. i love the little notebook with the embroidered paper edge in the photo.

Carol Q said...

LOVE your stitched sketchbook page Karen. There's just something about it which really hits the spot for me.

Sandy said...

A good idea about using the piece from the nightgown. Somehow I have inherited a hankie from my grandfather who died when my dad was 15. I think my grandmother embroidered his intitials on it. Your pocket idea gives me thoughts about using the handkerchief in some way rather than keeping it in a book.

Thanks for the comments about the embroidery on my skirt. It is amazing to me to think you were looking for it! But I did learn something to pass on. Corduroy frays much worse than denim when you do reverse applique. So if you start getting ideas...go do something else till they go away. :)
Sandy in Bracknell

Miss 376 said...

What a special piece of fabric for a special pocket. As I was looking through the photos, I was thinking how pretty it was

Elizabeth said...

While I was doing the dishes this evening I already thought: Karen hasn't posted, hmm!?!

Now my Karen-addiction is fed and my sunday evening can start. Just love to see your sketchbook ideas and that piece of your great grandmother is more than perfect and this was just for a nightgown!!!!

Enjoy your sunday evening Karen.

Rachel said...

I'm sure Nurse Garstang would be chuffed to bits that you seek to do her honour in this way, and just as sure that you'll make something wonderful!

Coach Tina said...

Karen-So glad you are feeling better. I love the pocket with your grandmothers night gown, what a treasured memory. I am glad you have your mojo back!

I need to sew soon! ARGH-too much cooking for the Thanksgiving holiday!

Tammie said...

every bit looks wonderful
looking forward to seeing your pocket

Unknown said...

Love the idea of the pocket Karen. Have been thinking though - what about a class on sewing on paper?!!
Dianne F

Sheep Rustler said...

'Tis not the computer keeping me away from making buttons. I can use the computer surreptiously at work, it is a bit hard to embroider at work! I must confess I am going off the idea of buttons brooches, I am struggling with the scale, though your beautiful ideas will find their place in other work of mine :)florence sounds pretty amazing btw.

barbara l. hale said...

Your great grandmother sounds like a special person. I am sure you will do her justice with your pocket.

Jacky said...

Karen your journal pages are truly beautiful (and so inspirational). So glad you will keep on being 'you', because you and what you do are very special (and obviously a lot of people know that...they love your creative work).

Have a wonderful week.

Jacky xox

stitchinglife.com said...

Glad you're feeling yourself again :-) The fragment of fabric is a precious thing indeed.

MosaicMagpie said...

I too have a bit of special fabric, a sash from my grandmother. It was from a dress she wore as a child. Thank you for the idea on how to use it. I love the journal page and I too would love to know more about stitching on the paper.
Deb