Welcome to the first ever Slow Stitching Blog entry.
You know, when I became ill in the final stages of kidney disease a couple of years ago, the experience took me out of a very busy and lucrative career in patchwork. I wasn’t able to fly, my energy was not up to snuff, I had chronic mouth sores and digestive issues, fevers and hemoglobin drops took over my life… I was a hot mess.
When you’re in the middle of an experience like that, it is very difficult to be able to find the silver lining.
I’m not Mother Teresa. She always found the good in something.
Nor am I St. Teresa of Avila. Life might be easier with apparitions and personalized divine guidance.
I’m not a mystic, or a psychic. WWJES? What Would John Edward Suggest?
I’m not even all that bright. Do I even need to justify that?
All I knew is that I was sick, without a job, had no prospects for when or if I would ever go back to work, living off my savings, and staring bankruptcy in the face. It would take me almost 4 years to finally find an answer and lessons in ” being on the outside, looking in,” on an industry that I had become so immersed in and was such a huge part of my life, both professionally and personally.
History Repeating Itself
I produced network television shows for about 30 years. As a television producer, many of my colleagues (if not all), would produce television shows daily for the never ending consumption of the American daytime audience.
“We nailed that show!”
“That was a really good piece of television…”
The truth of the matter is that we never actually watched the shows we produced. It was only after someone left the business or moved onto a new show, when they would turn on a television for pleasure, that they would realize that most of the programming is just crap!
Distance from a situation can be a wonderful learning experience. You get the gift of being able to see things in new ways, without the filter of any bias or emotion. Being away from a situation changes your reality! Such was my experience with being out of the quilting and patchwork world.
Where All This All Began
While flailing around, trying to figure out what to do next with my life, I met up with my longtime quilting friends, Liza Prior Lucy and Meg Cox. The three of us have met for regular lunches in Stockton, New Jersey. We had been meeting for lunch about every 4 to 6 weeks for years.
It was over one particular lunch that Liza chatted about her concept of ‘slow’ and how it might relate to the quilting world. The three of us talked about it for the rest of our time together that day. We talked about it the next time we met for lunch, and the next time. We had phone calls about it, and talked and discussed our ideas about it again.
Since I was the only one of the three of us who didn’t really have a job, had no passion for anything, was facing life-threatening surgery, and was just sitting around the house, Liza decided I should explore, then take the reins of whatever ‘slow’ opportunities there might be in the quilting industry (actually, she pushed, emailed, strong armed, cajoled, encouraged, telephoned, inspired, and finally wore me down). It was my job to research, discuss, and develop – not only a name, a logo, content and the marketing concepts as well. This blog is one of those concepts.
Why I Embraced the Idea of Slow Stitching
After the dozens and dozens and dozens of quilts I have designed and had published over the years, I have yet to design an actual important legacy quilt. A quilt for the ages, if you will. A quilt that in the future might explain who I was, what I did, and what life might have been like during 2014. That was really troubling me.
After 17 years in the business of patchwork inspiration and the designer of at least 100 quilts, quilting patterns, and several fabric lines, creating and editing stitch-related magazines, etc., I had to ask myself one question: Don’t I deserve one, just one, amazing quilt or fiber art project that I create that is full of soul, reaping the benefits of slowing down, learning new techniques and demanding excellence in my work that only focused and ‘slow’ application can give me? Don’t you?
Shouldn’t I be taking advantage of the health benefits of the slow movement? Shouldn’t I be the beneficiary of the financial benefits of intentional quilting, knitting, crochet or rug hooking? You know, shouldn’t I be taking advantage of the emotional payoffs of deliberate and conscious cross stitch, embroidery, or weaving? Why shouldn’t I be learning how to practice all of the spiritual benefits that the Slow Stitching Movement might offer me? Is there a reason why I shouldn’t be engaging with my community, and supporting ethical buying from my local shops? Am I not responsible for my rooms full of ‘stash’ that will eventually end up in a landfill, unused and unwanted?
All of these questions nagged at me, and their answers appealed to me.
The “slow” concepts aren’t new or unique, the Slow Food Movement, was started by Carlo Pertrini in Rome in the mid 1980’s.
Carl Honore’ wrote his internationally best selling book, “In Praise of Slow,” in 2005.
The Slow Stitching Movement embraces many of the universally practiced slow tenets. I have applied many of these ideas and concepts to the needle arts and patchwork, along with has, and has not, worked for me on my personal slow journey.
In Search of Slow Stitching
What the Slow Stitching Movement IS NOT:
- Slow Stitching is not about hand stitching if you don’t want to do hand stitching
- Slow Stitching is not only about complicated projects.
- Slow Stitching is not about creating and only working on your own designs.
- Slow Stitching is not about never buying new fabric, notions, or fabulous sewing machines again.
- Slow Stitching is not about being duped into buying things you don’t need or being dumbed down
- Slow Stitching is not about never creating or making easy and quick projects
The Slow Stitching Movement IS :
- Slow Stitching is about learning new techniques
- Slow Stitching is making time to immerse yourself in your creative process
- Slow Stitching is about developing excellent technique and soulful projects
- Slow Stitching is about not being duped by commercialism
- Slow Stitching is not being dumbed down by an industry whose only concern is your buying and not your creating
- Slow Stitching is about supporting your local shops, fellow artists, and the history of fiber art and the fiber artists in your community
- Slow Stitching is about creating that one important piece of fiber or needle art in your lifetime
- Slow Stitching is about practicing the process and reaping the health, emotional, financial, spiritual and creative benefits from intentional creativity
- Slow Stitching is about remembering why we began working with fiber in the first place
- Slow Stitching is about connecting with your work on a deeper level than shop to machine to closet.
- Slow Stitching is about knowing ourselves better and learning about who were are though our art and craft.
- Slow Stitching is about using the best fabrics, tools, threads, etc., that we can afford
- Slow Stitching is about developing and celebrating excellence in your work
- Slow Stitching is about enjoying the process, rather than anticipating a deadline or project completion
The Slow Stitching Movement Is Born
It has been several years since that ‘slow-dominated’ lunch with Liza and Meg. Finally, The Slow Stitching Movement, is a reality.
I have given lectures about The Slow Stitching Movement at guilds and in lecture halls (which I really used the audience as a focus group…) to pretty impressive reviews! Quilters and stitchers were interested in this concept! Fiber artists and those creatives who work with fiber, thread, and fabric supported what I had to say from my very first PowerPoint presentation. I was on the right track. While seems that the industry may want to dumb us down, entice us to buy products we don’t need, and try to convince us that ‘faster’ is better, we consumers — we artists — know better.
Using the Media to Spread the Slow Stitching Mission
It had been three years since I attended International Quilt Market. This past May, I packed up my car at the urging of my friend, Linda Lum DeBono, and drove across the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
I presented the Slow Stitching concept to the powers that be at F & W Media, who thought it was a perfect balance to the rest of their programming catalog. Another friend, Cate Coulacos Prato, the Online Editorial Manager for F & W Media, heard my pitch and championed it through the powers that be.
PLEASE REGISTER TODAY . . .
On June 19, 2014 I will present a live interactive webinar highlighting The Slow Stitching Movement!
Even if you won’t be available for the live webinar, sign up anyway!
You’ll receive the recording of the webinar a couple of days later and get all the benefits–including the Q&A–plus watch it over and over again, any time you like.
How I’m Using This Blog
I plan to use this blog as a vehicle to share my own process working through The Slow Stitching Movement. I plan to share my creative work here on what I call, ‘ my important quilt.’ In fairness, I plan to only show you bits and pieces as I move along so that I can reveal the quilt in its totality in the year or two it may take me to complete it.
I also plan to share my day-to-day struggles in my creative process, as well as my triumphs.
Keep your eye out for new artists, for ‘slow’ resources like books and workshops, for ‘slow’ podcasts, and interview with ‘slow’ artists.
Please Subscribe to this Blog
A FREE online magazine full of slow stitchers, slow stitching support and topics, patterns, and the movers and shakers in the fiber industry. I would love to show off your work, your opinions and discuss your creative process in the magazine. Ongoing podcasts and recordings of fiber arts — knitters, quilters, tatters, lacemakers, and stitchers like you, who talk about their journey into the Slow Stitching Movement
A calendar of events and classes and shops that support the Slow Stitching Movement (and you’re invited to post your events!)
Videos of Slow Stitching Salons, groups of slow stitchers who meet to work on their projects or discuss their creative process and ideas.
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in promoting your shop, group, or art.
How We Can Involve You!
I am offering space here, on my blog, for you to guest blog. I’d like you to share your own process as you slow down and commit to excellence in your work and craft. I will also be inviting other fiber artists to guest blog here, too. If you’re interested in adding a blog post or two here, if only to show us what’s on your design wall, or on your needles or crochet hook, rug hooking stand or tatting pillow, just drop me a line. Also, please contact me to list your upcoming shows, events, and meetings and I’ll be happy to share those.