embellished memories

today i am starting a series inspired by Mary’s question, “Where do you get your stitch ideas?”

all of my embroidery is easier to explain if you know that i’ve a background in poetry and painting/drawing.   images and metaphors have always meant a lot to me – and not just that, they make sense to me, they exist in my environment and they make my life richer.  it doesn’t matter to me whether the image is described or pictured, just that it’s there for my creative brain to work around, size it up, make meaning from.

i am inspired by my memories
1. i was raised on garden vegetables from the huge garden that made up a third of our backyard.

2. knapweed is an infectious weed that i remember from the alley behind my house when i was growing up.  frankly, i found the purple flowers interesting when i was a child, which strikes me as such a fun childish perspective on the matter.

3. ben and i biked everywhere when we lived in missoula and LOVED it.  small, flat cities ROCK. even on a really heavy old schwinn cruiser with metal baskets.

4. the huge black walnut tree in my backyard was cut down by my father, but because that tree reproduces through its roots, there’s a new one to take its place.

for me, these memories are not just in the past, they continue to be a part of my life and exist for me in the present as metaphors and as lessons i’ve learned about my life, my environment, and the world.  the resonance with my past fills them with depth and like a painting, i can find more meaning in my work and life when looked at closely.

sometimes my titles hold an extra little nugget, like ‘born again helmet hat’ (#4).  or the extra meaning might come from the colors used. the child’s hat with the beets embroidered on it has colors that contain much energy.  this hat started out as more educational, the food we eat gets energy from the sun and grows in the ground.  but for me, the hat being on a child’s head, also has the idea that humans too get energy from the sun and it helps them to grow and be healthy.  it speaks of the interconnection of our body and our ecosystem.

a successful hat for me will often have several layers of meaning.  for the people buying or wearing the hats, i believe that these layers of meaning are there whether perceived or not and that they provide a layer of prayer and/or playfulness to the hat.


Mary’s other question, “Which do you prefer to embellish with, embroidery thread or yarn?” has a much shorter answer.  have any of you used embroidery floss?  did you like it?

for knitting, i embroider with wool/yarn almost exclusively.  i keep all my little balls and scraps of wool for this purpose.  i control the thickness of the yarn by taking plies apart if i need to.  truth be told, i’ve never used regular embroidery floss on my knitting.  i have some, but i’ve just never thought about it!

6 thoughts on “embellished memories

  1. I enjoyed your answers to Mary’s questions. Thanks for answering them. I have found lately that when we travel on our quad through the countryside, I am so inspired by the colors but have no way of expressing that. Thank you for sharing how you do it.

  2. Ahhhh! I love when folks get into the thought processes involved in the creative work they do… guess it’s a leftover from all those crits I sat through. What an inspirational post.

  3. Interesting post – nice insight into your work. You know…I’ve been embroidering on knits for just about as long as I’ve been knitting and I’ve never considered pulling apart the ply of the yarn to control the thickness. I’m so happy I read this all the way through. Brilliant!

  4. I too have always loved those purple flowers, but thought they were related to thistles.

    Thanks for sharing the inspiration behind these objects and your memories.

  5. Pingback: do stuff! » it’s scarves and hats weather!

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