Stitching through life: Artists share their hearts and their art.
The Textile Artist newsletter begins “It’s hard to feel artistic when you’re hurting or sick, but research shows stitching through difficult times can help reduce stress and anxiety. And for those of you who are caregivers, you can also tap into the positive effects of slowing down and picking up a needle and thread.” Recovering isn’t always about a drug regimen. It’s about finding ways to look after and be kind to yourself. Find your “Cysur” which is the Welsh word for “comfort.”
Highlights from three of the artists and one more.
Sonja Hillen – A caregiver’s view
When a life-threatening diagnosis comes out of nowhere, it’s not just the patient who’s tossed about. Caregivers also experience their own challenges. Sonja turned to stitch to help process her and her husband’s unfolding story. Every night when her husband went to bed, he threw his knit hat at the corner of the bed. In the morning, he’d put the hat right back on. It touched me very deeply, and I knew I had to capture it in stitch.’
Linda Langley – Diagnostic layering – a journey caring for her mother.
‘I have learnt to love layers, and therefore, lace and sheers are prominent in my collection. I thought they were especially useful in depicting breast tissue. ’Linda’s piece was titled My Mum’s Breast. ‘I was very aware of the journey most breast cancer patients take. She was only 67, and while it was a long time ago, I still remember her dearly.’
Jane Axell – Stitching to heal
‘I learned how stress plays a major role in illness. You need something to trigger a relaxation response in your mind so your body can heal itself. ‘I think by indulging in any kind of creative practice, you can forget your cares, and enter a sense of wonder and playfulness that can be very healing. Honoring your creativity is your way of bringing love into the world. The secret is to carry that lovely feeling back into your life once your play session is over!’ Soft, red rose started as a contribution to an upcoming exhibit for Jane’s local stitching group.
Eileen Adler – Relationships
Borrowing from quilt patterns, I crocheted these squares long ago, but they offer reflections on any given day. The upper left square reflects the dominance of one partner over the other, who is completely obliterated. The upper right square reflects equality in the relationship, ideas and emotions are woven together, confirming strength. The lower left square symbolizes weighing all the ideas, suggestions, hopes leading toward an agreeable solution. And finally, the lower right square represents the inability to compromise.
Find your strength in every relationship.
Life Lessons: Textile art doesn’t have to be pretty to be therapeutic. A caregiver’s experience can be as overwhelming as that of the person experiencing illness. Crafting helps us slow down and breathe. Be kind and forgiving to yourself.