Wednesday, May 13, 2020

100 Days

I just finished an online project called “100 Days of Creativity”. It’s a program of the Studio Art Quilts Associate’s (SAQA) that I am a member of. Members who want to participate simply upload a photo of something creative they have done that day to an online album. It is a great source of inspiration to look at daily and a little incentive to share our work in an informal way. I first participated last year and shared random images of what I was working on. For this round I decided to use the opportunity to explore decorative hand stitching/embroidery and created an irregular grid of 100 rectangles to fill a day at a time. I cut the grid from painted and fusible-backed non-woven fabric and fused it to a piece of natural linen. The grid is approximately 12” x 13.5” and each rectangle about the size of a large-ish postage stamp. I had saved a clear plastic, zippered case (I think a tablecloth came in it) that seemed just perfect to hold my threads, equipment  and the work in progress. 

I tried to try something different each day. I worked randomly, starting near the center and tried to be mindful of how that day’s cell (I had started to think of them as “cells”) related to the ones it was adjacent to, varying the weight and color for a balanced composition. 

Some cells took only 10 minutes or so to complete, some took an hour or more.  Some of them really made me happy. Some of them are pretty ugly. 

I rarely knew what I was going to do until I sat down to do it. Most were about trying different techniques or stitches. Some reflected something I had seen or done that day. We saw a beautiful exhibit of artfully arranged insects and beetles, which inspired a beetle. Later I added another beetle just for repeated motif, done in a different way. 

There are two hearts in the piece. The first was added on Valentines Day, the second in Mexico after a day of folk art with winged hearts. 

The candle was done on my birthday. 

Toward the end of February we went on vacation to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I took the project along and faithfully stitched a cell each night of our vacation. The tomato appeared after we took a cooking class. Other “Mexican” images of flowers and plants and color combinations are sprinkled through the work as well. 

On March 10 we returned to the US and the new world of the Corona virus. We have been at home since, where I continued to stitch a cell each night. I have not consciously made the pandemic the subject of my stitching, but it is there in the thread. The one cell that actually looks a bit like the virus was done early in the process, before the Corona virus was even on my radar. 

When I got down to the last day the only remaining empty cell just happened to be top row center and it seemed like it somehow needed to sum up the project, so I stitched my house, where so much of this was made under quarantine. It didn’t turn out very well—house, trees, sky—all too much for that tiny little space, but I know what it means and it stays. 

February 1 - May 10, 2020. 100 days in my life. I didn’t miss a day. I learned a lot about hand stitching, including some of what not to do. I watched it grow and I see those days in it. I feel emotional when I look at it and think about what those days have been—wonderful and awful, joyous and really sad.  It is an instant artifact and something to keep as a reminder of what a journey of 100 days can encompass. 

And now the back, because—sigh—because everyone wants to see the back. 

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