Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hand and the Heart

In Toronto, we are privy to have our creative world in this city’s Medina. Looking out of our southern facing windows, we can see the CN tower (for 30 years it was the tallest free standing building in the world). In the evening, the tower is light up like a flashing disco stick in many spectrums of the color wheel. A visitor to our city, could think there was a party going on if they did not know better. This landmark is a gentle reminder for me that our multicultural city is so special.

Our Atelier is located in the heart of Toronto's downtown. The first phase of it was built in 1880 by an industrious Scot. The
history of the 401 Richmond building is very interesting. That it remains in the heart of our city is truly a blessing of good fortune. We are grateful for this treasure.



During the last weeks, I have been busy with more hat creations. I am pleased with the fabric I have chosen for this years’ fall collection. The weaves speak volumes for their color and composition.

Every hat I produce is the only one in the world. I truly believe in the power of the individual. Here is Rita who has owned her Gwendolyne Hat the Rusalka for over a decade. She inspires many people every day and I am glad to have created this hat especially for her.








On one of our Sunday Salons ~ Fiber Art workshops, I captured her putting the finishing stitches on her artwork inspired by the element
EARTH. She embraced her life journey in her artwork. As an open and generous spirit, she is one of the most special people I know.




That sunlight that streams in while we stitch during the afternoon workshops, has been most comforting during these last cold winter months.

One day William and I were talking to another tenant in our building about our courses. The person remarked "a stitch and bitch”. I giggled, as I had never heard such a rhythm before.

Our gatherings are just the contrary. We share stories that have shaped our week and our lives. We find our common threads while focusing on our creations. A newly discovered expression emerges without us really realizing it. The hand, needle and thread are the motions in-between. The sharing of the space with our intentions is what makes our workshops most gratifying.

For years, my desire of presenting this course series kept recurring. Then last year with the collaboration of another woman who gave art classes to children, I created a needlecraft class. It was very insightful, and it clarified what I didn’t want my classes to be.


The hand is one of our bodies’ most amazing tools. I am not sure if many of us think about it this way. Our mind tells us what to do and we have mastered its’ ability so well, that we rarely give it much thought. In our workshops, I am watching how the hand is silently celebrated. Through patience, a meditative calm state is created.

This experience we call life is an opportunity to co create the world we desire. In our workshops, the heart is the center of our workshops. Together our dynamics and intentions create the space that open and express ourselves. We put our egos aside and create with mental hugs of love. We now understand more about the essence that lies under the quilting bees.

Last year at the Toronto Outdoor Art Show, I met a fiber artist Amanda McCavour. She constructs her art using needle machine embroidery. I was in awe when I first laid my eyes on her these images. Here is "Cat's Cradle". The work is very sculptural as the threads are held above the background surface by pins. The subject matter opens my playtime memories. Wonderful how a string with a knot can amuse oneself.





I will be sharing more about her art in my next post. Presently she is an artist in residence at the Harboufront Center's Textile Studio. On the 13th of this month the show Still will open at Torontos’ Harbourfront Centre Vatrines. Works made by Amanda will be on exhibit. I know I will be visiting as it is up until May 3.

When I began my AIR element Amandas' artwork inspired me to research and experience the technique of needle embroidery. I selected two linen canvases. I did a blue wash on one, the other kept plain. On the latter I worked the each color thread and followed that needle motion carefully. Sadly I felt disconnected from the others in our class. The machine was physically between us and I was not getting that emotional connection I normally experience when I work with hand stitches. My focus was on the needle; my hand disconnected to my fourth heart charkra. This experience made me appreciate even more what it takes to work in needle machine embroidery.




Like a game of “Go” easy to pick up, but to master takes great focus. The analytical and isolating nature of the technical process is not for me. I thrive on the emotional connection. Hand stitching does that and more for my senses.

My
Fire element artwork was such a pleasure to create. Doing the outer running stitches was a total free flowing experience. Now my element Air is beginning to take off, you can only guess what my imagery might be.

Wishing you a most creative day where ever you are! Be sure to drop a comment if you are so inclined.

1 comment:

Agapelife said...

"Hand stitching does that and more for my senses."

Exactly how I feel, I don't own a sewing machine. My first needlework class at age 8 was all your basic stitches for embroidery work. Still like doing it. Like your fire element artwork - so vibrant.

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