Wednesday, June 30, 2010

the slow choice

While Karen has been thinking about definitions of story cloth or picture cloth or poem cloth, I have been questioning the why of my work at all. I've been doing this, making quilts or cloth pieces, for many years and I've always done it by hand. I don't have a machine. I've never considered having one.

I've always enjoyed the process of creating with my fingers and hands and preferred the flexibility of the mobility of the projects. I still do.

As the subject continues to come up and even my husband is wondering, don't I want a machine, I've started to question what is the point of what I am doing? So I haven't been doing much of anything creatively.



Today I read a post about folk art by Pam, whose blog I regularly read. While nothing I'm working on is as spectacular as what she's working on and she uses a machine and I still choose not to, I was reminded of a quilt I started a few years ago and then put away.  I need a new project and maybe embroidering, embellishing and finishing this old one will be it.

27 comments:

ROZ said...

The first quilts I ever made, I sewed together by hand. It's very satisfying. Have you read "Patchwork Folk Art" by Janet Bolton?

Victoria @ BUMBLE BEANS said...

If your happy doing what your doing, and I think you are, then keep doing what your doing! if it ain't broke, don't fix it....
I wish I had more time for hand work... the way I learned... :-)
love your work...

sewpam63 said...

This is beautiful, Debi. If I could be a motivator, then I'm glad for it! ; ) Enjoy your process. Quilt where YOU are. Be patient and follow your heart, soul, mind, and fingertips too!

Roslyn said...

I admire people with the patience to sew everything by hand-it isn't me though. I say you do what feeds your soul.

bad penny said...

I've been questioning why a lot recently too !

I was lucky enough to go to the quilt exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum last week. I'm not a quilter but it was amazing - quilts from the 1700s to present day.
I'm going to give crochet a try - the friend I went to the exhibition with ( I met a real live Blogger ! ) is sending me a beginner's book.

Karen Turner said...

I have to agree with Victoria - if it ain't broke, etc. I have a machine but haven't used it for about a year now. I don't like the way it 'grabs' at things, the noise it makes and the way it gnashes cloth between the foot and the feed dogs. It all seems a bit brutal to me. I think we create because we must.
And thanks for the mention :-)

Mrs Moen said...

The point of it would be that you're doing something you love. You're using your creativity and making beautiful art. Whether we go slow or fast - isn't that the point for all of us?
I find that the work of others inspire me, it makes me try new things and I develop as an artist. Your work has inspired me to do more hand work myself. With some projects I want to go fast as the wind, others grow and develope slowly and I'm happy with both. Life is a process; follow your heart or go whereveer the wind might take you - it's your journey.

Barbara said...

Your work is creative and unique, especially in this age of literally everything being done by machines and computers. I use a machine to assemble blocks and quilts, but I won't ever send them out to be quilted, or use a computer to design them. Also, keep in mind that the busier we keep our hands, the better it is for age-related things like arthritis. I've learned that the harder way. Creativity is good for the soul.

Barbara said...

PS, forgot to say -- that project you are considering finishing is STUNNING! It will be a treasure when done. Definitely can't wait to see it!

Suzanne Kistler said...

Your blocks are stunning!

I do both machine and handwork, but lately find myself drawn to the peace and tranquility that handwork offers. If you don't enjoy the process, what's the point of pursuing it?

I say listen to your heart, and you won't be disappointed.

Sujata Shah said...

I love your applique quilt. Nothing is as satisfying as handwork! I can not wait to see your embellishments on it.

beadbabe49 said...

There's a peace that comes from hand work that I can't find in any other process (I do bead embroidery)...

dosfishes said...

Your work is so lovely, slow by hand is so meditative, isn't just the doing sometimes enough? I know for me when I don't "do" I get cranky...and when I play, I feel so much better, but it is always good to ask those questions. Hope you sew through the answers...

Vicky~ stichr ~ said...

I learned to make quilts by hand back in the 70's from Roberta Horton. Nothing wrong with hand sewing, I love hand work myself. My sewing machine sits lonely for long long stretches of time. Yeah Hand Sewing!

Mary said...

I know what you mean - everyone is crankin out quilts in about 1/16th the time I do and I sometimes think I should just give in and machine them. But I got into making quilts because of the handwork. I admired the antique quilts worked by hand and that is what I want to continue.

BT said...

That looks marvellous Deborah, do take on that challenge. It'll renew your interest, I'm sure.

Creative Carmelina said...

oh this is so interesting!
you are like me when it comes to not wanting a dishwasher! hehee....

i still wash by hand and do not own a machine in that avenue of my life!

but a sewing machine I would not do without! i have a serger too....
but there is something so tangible and tactile and different about doing it all by hand...and I think that is wonderful!

your quilt here is gorgeous...it would be lovely to work on again!

i love to embroider and crochet, so I get my fill of hand work in through those means!

thanks so much for sharing!

ciao bella
creative carmelina

jess said...

Don't question yourself, that's dangerous!!! Question what you can do to make yourself happier with your work. This is your heart and soul- the expression of you, and it shouldn't feel foreign or uncomfortable.
xoxo

beth said...

lovely quilt. Enjoy the process and don't overthink it.

LOVE STITCHING RED/Carolyn said...

Hi Deborah

Firstly, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for always leaving me such lovely heartfelt comments :o)

I read your post today and I think that it's very easy to get a bit bogged down with what everyone else is doing so that we question where our own work fits into the scheme of things. But, the most important thing in the world is to be true to yourself and to do whatever makes you happy right now, right this moment, be it hand stitching or machine stitching, feltmaking, painting whatever. If you get the urge to try something new then go for it, otherwise if you are most happy doing what you do that can only be amazing that you have found the thing that brings you happiness. Your work is beautiful and many people aspire to hand stitch as wonderfully as you do!

Keep going ...

Have a lovely weekend
Carolyn xx

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

I love that you slow sew. I have a machine that dosn't work and I keep thinking about getting it fixed. I certainly get a lot more done! There is something special about hand sewing though and being able to take it anywhere is a bonus. Best wishes for your quilt, I hope it refreshes you!

jackie said...

Don't worry,just keep doing waht you enjoy.

Debrina said...

Hand quilting is living my dream, Deb. I've never made a quilt before, but when I do, it will be hand sewn and hand quilted.

ParisMaddy said...

The slow choice is better than no choice. Your work is so beautiful! I say do what makes you happiest and most fulfilled. Shake it up a little, baby, like a snow globe!

Victoria said...

I think it's important to periodically step back and ask ourselves why we do what we do. Sometimes, we may find that our old ways have grown tiresome and we decided to explore new paths, but other times we find ourselves recommitted to what we have been doing all along. For me, I need to switch back and forth between hand and machine, (or sometimes combine them). Creatively, I feed off of both. Either way, the important thing is to do what YOU love!

layers said...

I think that if you are happy with using your hands and not a machine- go for it-- be happy-- that is most important-- it is probably more time consuming-- but I think it shows in the work-- the time and 'heart' you put into the quilts comes across

Leslie said...

If it satisfies you to make your quilts by hand, I say carry on. Sometimes it really is about the journey.