This past week was a record week of sample stitching for me, and friends, that's saying something! While I have been thrilled/relieved/ecstatic to have a loyal group of sample stitchers help me out over the last two years, I still do the lion's share of stitching of new Avlea designs. When I tallied up my stitching a few months ago, I realized I had stitched over 80 embroideries in the last 6 years!
I was getting kind of discouraged at still being on crutches for my broken foot (7 weeks now...sigh), so I decided to really lean into getting all the projects for my book stitched so they'd be ready for the photo shoot sessions I have planned in May. And then I remembered I had an upcoming project and article due for Taproot magazine which needed a sample stitched. And, then I thought that a BitKit version of the upcoming Iris' Paintbox might be nice. Next thing I knew, I was stitching literally every free minute I could find!
The Taproot project is a delightful little table mat design with a repeating star and knot motif in two alternating color palettes that mimics woven fabrics (can't share photos yet, but I promise to as soon as I can). It's for their October STITCH issue and I'm working on an article about embroidery styles that utilize a single stitch--for example, cross stitch--to create glorious works of textile art. Sometimes repetition is the way to glory after all!
Next up in my basket was the Naxos Stars design which I just finished two days ago. This is inspired by the very distinctive embroideries from the island of Naxos and will be finished into a cushion cover with a mitered linen border. I just discovered that the Essex linen/cotton comes in a color almost identical to 3857 rosewood dark, so this small repeating design will be framed in dark rosewood linen which is going to look amazing!
I also finished up the Chrysanthy design for the book, which is a large single motif design from the island of Chios. Both the repeating Naxos Stars and the single motif Chrysanthy have inspired me to design more types of cushion covers that utilize less stitching but still have fantastic visual impact. So, stay tuned for some of those coming your way.
In the middle of all my stitching,I received a new book on embroidery from Azerbaijan. With all the sample stitching I'm in the middle of, I'm just enjoying mulling over this new book for now, but I know I'll be coming back to it over the coming months to be inspired by these historic traditions. In Azerbaijan, you can see the influence of carpet motifs and styles in the embroidery of this region. Think full coverage stitching with a traditional palette of terra cotta, warm blues, soft greens, ivories, and golds. This silk embroidery below is a great example. I can't wait to start figuring out how to adapt these designs into more modern layouts.
I spent one morning doing some designing and I was able to get the new Persepolis Pendants into the Pomegranate Collection as well as take some designs in process to the next level. I've got a Byzantine-inspired peacock table runner design that I've been working on for a couple of months now and it just wasn't singing. Then, someone commented on my use of 3808 turquoise very dark in an IG post and I suddenly realized that those peacocks needed a hefty dose of deep turquoise. As soon as I changed that up, the design just sang like an opera star! So, I'm pretty excited to begin stitching that sample in a month or so. To mix it up, I've also been playing around a bit with architectural motifs and I've come up with a new table runner design, Oak Park Diamonds, which is based upon leaded glass windows of the Prairie style school of architecture (because I am a huge Frank Lloyd Wright/Prairie style fan--I got to go to Fallingwater years ago and it was an amazing experience).
Can you tell by now that I've had WAY too much time to sit around these days? I've got a couple more weeks on crutches and rather than sit and moan (which, believe me, by this point is quite tempting!) I'm keeping myself creatively focused. The great news is that I got the green light to start swimming again and that is definitely helping my sanity. I've been a long distance lap swimmer for about five years now and I love the rhythm of being in the pool with the peaceful sound of the water all around me. My best thinking happens while I'm swimming and I've missed those "aha!" design moments I get in the pool.
One of the lessons I've learned through these last couple of months of forced inactivity is just how important activity is to me and to my creative process. Before, I knew I needed to work out for health and all that good stuff, but I've come to realize that "active rest" (that's what some neurologists call things like physical exercise) is a big part of how I think and ponder and mull over new designs, new colorways, new motifs and that it serves my creativity instead of supplanting it.
I used to think that my ultimate dream was just being creative all day, every day with nary a break in sight. Having gotten two months worth of that dream delivered on a silver platter by way of my broken foot, I realize that the real creative power is in the contrast--of the doing and the resting, of the stitching and the swimming. It's changing how I approach things moving forward as I learn to allow for more creative rest, for the time and space for designs to blossom, motifs to appear, and the work to grow.
Wishing you all joy in your stitching and your resting! Krista
What a coincidence--that oak leaf and peacock feather motif in the bags is one I've adapted for my book (I found a similar motif in a vintage Romanian book and have not seen this in any Palestinian books yet). It's a really great motif with such a unique combination.
These posts are always a treat to read and I think I'll definitely embrace "active rest" in the future! You're so right about the bright colors in Palestinian embroidery! After reading your post, I dug up some of my first embroidery purchases and looked at them with fresh eyes. I have a new appreciation for cypress motifs. These are all from the Melkite Pastoral Center/Palestinian Embroidery Workshop in Ramallah.