Affirmation

Affirmation turns up in life as statements to self, in the present tense, to manifest the qualities or things you want in your life. As in ‘I am rich’  or ‘money flows freely to me’ or ‘my life is beautiful’. Affirmations for money status, health status, the status of being alive and here. They are spoken or written to help bring about dreams and desires, to affirm life in all it’s glory.

But what about the every day Affirmations that possibly go unnoticed. Someone calls my name..Maggie…affirms me, a smile from a stranger in the street, on the bus, you are affirmed by their smile, when someone holds a door open for you, you are affirmed, a small child waves to you.. you are seen and affirmed. Simple everyday exchanges that occur between strangers…

I consider the opposite.

You hold the door open for someone and they breeze through with no thanks or acknowledgement – don’t you just feel annoyed about their thoughtlessness? Downright rudeness, as you might see it? Because you have not been affirmed in return- you’ve been rendered invisible.
When I wait for someone running for my bus and they fly onboard, tap in and move to their seat..zilch, di nada, no smile, nothing. I have seen them but they don’t see me..do they think the bus drives itself? Then you have to realise that people are preoccupied with problems, late for a meeting, going to visit someone sick in hospital, getting to work on time.
And there are the times when there is no need to be seen in Driver role, I wait for you running up ..I’m lost in the working day and want to get going, snap the doors shut and race on.

And then there is the best affirmation.

I recently saw street sleepers a kip in a doorway, when another man carrying a Mac D’s strolled past. He gently tapped one of them on the shoulder and got no response, so he stooped down and left his meal beside the homeless man and went on his way. The affirmation of humanity.

 

 

Grow

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I was mentally searching for the right word to put on here. I found ‘grow’ among my box of tricks. I had a choice of pink or green/white. ‘The right words at the right time’ you’d be mine’ Lyrics from Tracy Chapman float into my head. 
I like how the densely stitched shapes create an undulating surface. The bicolour letters blend in and out of the back ground colour. Not too obvious.
 
Initially the letters were fed into the sewing machine , one snapped needle later and a chorus of profanity I decide it’s better to hand stitch through the layers. 

I love the sensation of stitching into quilted cloth. it’s meaty as the needle sinks in, passes through and the tug of thread as it tails out, tautens, comes to a halt. 
As I stitch all manner of thoughts come and go.. It creates a space to think, the hands are occupied .

Done ?

Hand and machine stitched intuitive textile art by Maggie Winnall at Sewin Studio
Z,M,V,A © Maggie Winnallf 

Four more letters towards my #44lettersmore project. I have 30 letters so far. I’m unsure if these are done , they might need something a little darker. Also my spectacles crashed to the floor and split in two. So I’m working with an older pair… This might explain a lot .

#100 Day Result – Time Lapse photo

Hand and machine stitched letters in intuitive art textile by Maggie Winnall at Sewin Studio
#100 Day Result © Maggie Winnall

#100 Day Result.  Time lapse photo, As in a month has passed since its completion. Flouting the rules of marketing, always the rebel. But honest.

It was coincidence that the warm and cool colours balanced 50/50. A happy accident I’d say. Towards the end of the project, around day 75, the compositions became more abstract, with the shapes and tonal values of the letters and ground stitch merging together. I found my process.

And the fonts that have contrast are more identifiable, especially the the pale letters against the ground fabric. Like the signage on a road, which is apt since its where I’ve spent much of my time. On the road. Another rebel story.

Yes and No

Hand and machine stitched intuitive art textile by Maggie Winnall at Sewin Studio
Yes and No © Maggie Winnall. Machine and hand stitched art textile

Yes! I’m happy to say that I completed my project, #100 Day Result, finishing up on July 27th or thereabouts. I stitched one hundred Applique fabric letters.  My sense of self and artist self merged into one. I became an artist.
I maintained my daily practice through one hundred days. It felt good. A new process emerged from the experiments, or even multiple processes as I tried hand and machine stitching in differing ways.  I was riding the crest of the wave and keen to continue, I made a start on supplementing the missing alphabet letters. I call this project #44lettersmore.

Then along comes the ‘no’ part of the blog title.The ‘no’ represents a pause, the delay in daily stitching. I slip back into resistance, I deny myself the pleasure of making. As I write now, I see I am concentrating on the negative but it ( this negative) has to be acknowledged. It is a pattern of mine, a recurring theme. I will be going happily along then I stop suddenly and drift away from my intention, for no apparent reason. It then takes ages before I realise I’m off the beaten track.  Much has been written about this, I know because I have All of the books !  So I have gleaned an insight as to why I behave in this way.. But it is a battle, a silent stealth that creeps back.

Fast and Slow

This is a fast and slow process. It is about the speedy sewing machine, where the fabric is manipulated with free flowing movement. The machine whip stitch causes the bobbin thread to be pulled to the top, creating little dots and pulls around the circles, echoing the edge stitch of the letter. I like this spontenaiety.
Then it’s slow and purposeful, stitching by hand to define the letter. The choice of colour and weight of thread influence the outcome. Using the same thread on the letter as on the back ground creates balance, using a weightier thread brings colour and texture to the surface.

Letter ‘f’

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The letter ‘f’ picked at random and kept for its pale blue as light as todays sky. The nearly vintage 80’s furnishing print is in a greyish palette of pink and purples/blues. Not too happy with the overall effect of the blue and the green thread,  I prefer yesterday’s brighter colours and contrast. Here come the likes and dislikes, to discern as you go. We will see how it works In the over all scheme of things. One day at a time. One letter at a time. Focus. Simple. Is there anything more to say on today’s rendition of the letter ‘f’? It was chosen for its colour primarily, and because I like the detail shape of the top of the ‘f’ the curve and bar going across the stem. I’m sure there are words for the features of a letter, this is the realm of calligraphy.  I like letters and I like to see their shapes enlarged in cloth. The colour and stitching adds dimension.

Trying again

I have one hundred 3″ cloth squares in various colours and a number of random letters left over from another project. Each day I will stitch one letter to one square and post it on Instagram and blog about the process here. This is to get into a habit of making and to make a micro system of recording my projects.  In keeping it small, and keeping it simple is to get myself a modest result and most of all to finish.

Because in last year”s #100 day project I was going along happily, then stopped for no apparent reason. I failed and took so long to recover. Really. This is a pattern of mine. When I am making something and feel good about it, I halt. There has been plenty of time for reflection as to why.

There were several contributing factors ( some might say excuses ) such as external circumstances and all manner of mindset games (generally known as the ‘inner critic’ ) that played in my head to divert me to ‘not’ doing. It is quite staggering the way the brain works to prevent a person ( that is, me ) to fulfill a simple aim, to make art for one hundred days. And when it didn’t happen, the consequences were drastic, to the extent that my grand daughter observed that my studio looked abandoned..
Some lessons learned from last time.
1. to focus only on the task, to finish the daily task. I found that I started to include other things that were not about the project, like celebrating my yoga days for example. Nothing to do with one hundred beautiful words.
2. There is what I call ‘force fixing ‘ mentally shaping the outcome – what it would look like, what would happen as a result, etc etc. Who knows what will happen as a result of 100 days of making or what it will look like. I have to just stitch each day, it will reveal itself as we go along.
3. When I’m doing something i love, ideas flow freely and open up the potential for bigger things, my mind becomes distracted, ambitious and gets carried far away from the task at hand.
4. Then there were the external circumstances, life showed up in the form of family drama and of course I dropped tools to help. There was no need for me to give up my project though, I just did.

So here, I am trying again, this time with a refined plan. To keep the whole process simple to execute, simple to record and simple to finish. To complete daily, to stitch over and over each day for 100 days. I’m hoping also to establish a routine that will lodge in my brain, for onward use into other endeavours. This is the intention ( after doing my daily stitching that is )

Faith Renewed

Contemporary Art Textile with text and hand stitching and quilting.
#100 Days of Beautiful Words by Maggie Winnall -Day 20

I’m on Day 20 of #100 Days of Beautiful Words. You can see the words and colours  growing up the front of the dress. It amounts to one fifth of the total area and I’m hoping there will be enough space for the full lexicon. The schedule however is on Day 22, so some extra stitching is required, I’m  playing catch up already. The words will get done but this is not really the point…the learning is that I have lost 2 days and that working little and often, is the best way.