Category Archives: journal: lessons to learn

drag point

There comes a time for me with every piece that is a drag point. I’ve been “in the zone” with the whole, but suddenly the whole has more parts than i realized, and there’s only so zoney you can get, to get it done! This is such a large piece, and it has many parts, not only in design and execution, but in meaning, so i’m looking at the pauses and stutters as part of the thinking process. I’ve done a lot of reading and research, something that had fallen by the wayside for awhile. I missed that, and am glad to be taking that time again.

The meanings of memory, of remembered, and true, time, the flashes of forgotten experience, the daily recognition and reflection, what would you do if you had no cognizance of most or any of this? Mental illness, dementia, repression, amnesia, delusion/illusion, cognitive conformity (oh that one really frosts my cookies), moral licensing, (the previous two can be/are linked), and most strangely of all, lifelong severely deficient autobiographical memory (SDAM) , and highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM). What if you could remember *everything*??????????

I remember things from when i was 3, vivid memories of sneaking into the bathroom and taking one of my father’s razor blades (the real ones in those days), sitting on the top step of the stairs and slicing my thumb open, and knowing i was going to be in trouble for it. From the same time, i remember re-assuring my younger brothers (they were 2 and 1) that the loud noise at night was just a train going by. I don’t remember anything from ages 9 and 10. I remember too much from some really bad personal years, but, as in the old joke, not what i had for dinner last night. Some of my memories are distorted, integrated with someone else’s, stolen, i know that from talking with family or friends, who remember differently. Absence of memory, strong memory are protective mechanisms, talismans, guides (yes, do it, no, don’t), for me.

And now i remember i have limited time.



I’m close to done most of the hexes on the left panel of this work (more than these photos show), and wanting to “balance” the right side, will be adding more hexes, but with a different feeling, and configuration. (These photos are also “sideways” because the section is so long, easier to view this way, the bottom actually on the right!)

Next step will be to choose the threads for this side. The main one may still be a bamboo colourway “Stormy Weather”, of which i will have JUST enough (it’s ir-replaceable, as a gift and from a private dyer), OR this one below, and some warmer toned threads than the blues/greens i’ve been using on the left side. That red silk for “under” the hexes has been with me for at least 20 years!


I’ve used the hexagon shape over the past years in many ways, usually symbolizing nature and connectivity, and now  have added the element that the hexes represent memories—connecting and referring to each other but separating, compartmentalizing, fragmenting as we get older–as we age the connections become disparate, as time and self dissociate.

And i still don’t have even a “working title” for this.


Posted by on February 6, 2017 in in progress, journal: lessons to learn


happies at work

Thank the deities for a fulfilling  day job.


I “retired” once from the biz, but am so grateful for the distraction and creativity, and the trust of my clients.


a stitch, or many, in time

“How did it get so late so soon?” ― Dr. Seuss

Time and space are slowing with this one. Since the last “photo session” on the 25th, i have added 11 more hours worth of stitch to this area, and feel (while i’m loving it) that little more has been done…………..

Intricacy, tiny occlusions and inclusions, artistic license *and* accuracy, the Devil is in the details as They say.


(I however have to pick parts of that top hex out, as it woogled and borgled.)

The indigo was definitely the right choice.


I’ve had to make tons of notes as i go along, because there are many steps for working each section of the neuron. I keep missing little bits as i go through each one!


I wanted to add what i thought were synapses somewhere, but my thinking about this has been wrong. I thought a synapse was a totally different animal, but research shows me it’s the space “between” neurons.

I can appreciate the beauty of this though, as it’s not all cut and dried facts. My favourite shot to date below, though the lighting is not true.


The “hand” of all this stitching is sore, but the “hand” of all this stitching is so wonderfully tactile too 🙂

I had a big long discussion with myself originally on this post about “meditative” and “mindful”, but blah blah so i deleted it.

hexes rising

indigo-hexes-jan-24A few years ago in a Yoshiko Wada workshop, i fortuitously dipped two previously ecoprinted hunks of silk in a henna based indigo pot. In the ensuing years i’ve often dug them out and admired the greeny blue that resulted, though often thought the mud colour induced by chemical reaction over the ecoprints was well, too muddy. Sometimes i’ve wondered about just tossing them or giving them away.

Whew, i didn’t. You never know what will be Useful and Beautiful and Perfect, if you throw it out. The earthiness now of those colours are what was called for in secret by this piece. I listened.

My biggest challenge with this though, is finding a UBP slab of true madder.


I’ve been tuning into certain words and phrases now as i stitch in the evenings, hearing from the strangest sources quotes about memory. A cheesy B movie yielded up “We survive by remembering, but sometimes we survive by forgetting,” and a Cicero quote from an episode of Criminal Minds “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” Proves one never knows what might be relevant or inspiring, and from the oddest “sources”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



no smartypants title

Because i thought i’d make a joke about hexes again, but can’t get the brain on that, without doing evil apparently……

I was doing some research (falling down the Rabbinet Hole, that is, truthfully) this morning, thinking i could find something smart, funny, deep or pertinent to the subject, but Nay. Evidently hexes are bad, unless you’re a quilter in love with them. 🙂

I’m still in sampling mode as i work out what this large project needs. I want to introduce some stronger colours, and my eye espied the bag of indigo bits i have been hoarding.





*Just* enough contrast/colour/depth!!!!!!!!!! I don’t want to overwhelm the rest of it, but being a natural dye, it does work with all the others.

Winnowed down to three thread choices from 17, i ended up using (so far) just the Caron “Smoke” #022

neuron-threadsThis one’s gonna be a pleasure to work, and though i will finish the sample, am 99.9% sure that it will work on the actal project as well.

I guess that’s why this one result from the search felt right:



are you experienced?

jan-12-bAs i work with this large expanse, i’m better appreciating the nuances of colour created by chemical reactions between rust, potassium permanganate and brazilwood. Pinks, purples, teeny bits of blue and charcoal, russets and washed out reds. Amazing how that works, and really wondering how i managed to get such clean whites too!


These long lines of seeded backstitch, paths, divisions, separations, they appeal to the memory and sense, for otherness, unpredictable, centering, old consciousness. I’m struggling to express this in words, but words are an important part of this project as well. I’ve been writing a lot of free association exercises on my work blog, and will be condensing them down to make clear what it is i’m making, sharing, experiencing. I think of everything from Jimi Hendrix, to memories of childhood, passed friends and washed away river banks.



oh, bother……………

Think i’m going to be offline for awhile. Damn computer keeps freezing and acting bizarrely………………………….

On the good side, my Valdani order arrived 3 days after i placed it, so stitching at least will fill the hours. And better really than computer time anyway, yes?????


Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Probably talking to just myself