Last week when Mandy and Nancy and I were having our Tuesday Morning Cappuccino and Tea at The Central House in Salem, Mandy told us about her plans to have a one day meditation retreat in March. Setting roots was the theme and she had a visual in mind to go along with it. I saw it right away as she explained it, then Mandy asked me if I could do a drawing to accompany her announcement about the retreat. I thought about using colored pencil or chalk, but it didn’t feel right. What I really wanted to do was stitch it on my machine. I knew I had that spring green thread and found the perfect piece of natural canvas to sew it on. I wasn’t sure if it was what Mandy had in mind, but thought if she wanted a drawing on paper I could always make one. When I gave it to her she fussed over it enough to let me know she liked it and when I saw it hanging in her meditation room yesterday morning, I was convinced.
So now I see, I’m thinking in thread. When I imagine creating an image, I don’t feel the pencil on paper, I feel the needle dotting the fabric, the see the colored thread magically appearing as I move the material under the sewing machine foot, creating lines, creating patterns, objects, people, animals and words. My sewing machine is my mark maker, my pencil, my brush.
It’s backwards in a way, usually we move the pencil or brush and the paper or canvas stays still. With my sewing machine I’m moving the fabric. It’s true the needle is moving, but my control of it is limited to the speed, color and texture. I realized that this way of working has become the most natural thing in the world to me. Even more natural than the way I leaned to create images and have created them most of my life.