Inspiration at The Art Institute of Chicago
TCW223 Fragmented Flower Stencil

Slowing Down: Hand Stitching

If you've ever watched my videos you know that I move fast.  I don't spend a lot of time thinking or planning, I just kind of do what feels good and make quick decisions.  I favor techniques and mediums that are fast and esasy.  I mean, my DVD is called "Collage Fast and Furious."  Anyway, that love of speed is part of the reason I can get so much done.

But every now and then I like to slow down.

Several years ago I read an article (similar to this one, but I can't find the one I'm thinking of) about how our brains need down time away from stimulation in order to process the things that have happend to us -- our thoughts and emotions need percolation.  The article was criticizing technology for giving us virtually no gaps for processing.  Or perhaps criticizing us for technology constantly (think checking your e-mail at the bus stop or talking on the phone at every boring moment) instead of taking a mental break.

Certainly craft of any kind is a wonderful time to meditate and get away from the TV, the computer, and all of that stimulation.  But I really appreciate the deep meditative quality of a craft that's just a little bit slower; that allows your mind to wander and your imagination to soar.

Most times when I start a slower craft like stamp carving or hand stitching or bead weaving I find myself racing, pushing, and trying to muscle my way through the task more quickly.  It takes me a little while to calm down, and stop thinking, "Gosh, this is taking forever."  But once I do, it's a wonderful experience.  And I think it really saved my sanity on this epic travel adventure I've been on.

I calmly stitched my way through seven hours at the airport on Thursday. 

I stitched through my Friday morning flight. 

Elana and I talked and stitched together on our Monday night at her home. 

I stitched in the airport on Tuesday while I waited for my flight...

...and continued to stitch from Chicago to New York City. 

And in some ways I feel like I exited the plane more refreshed than if I had slept.

SupplyBox(My little stitchery box: tiny travel scissors, embroidery floss, fabric scraps, needles)

When your arting time is limited, it's hard to think of picking up a slower craft.  It just seems like nothing happens in the spare ten minutes you have.  Or even the spare hour you have.  But for long periods of time, it can't be beat!  And it is truly meditative.

Do you enoy any "slower" crafts?  Which ones and why?

Thanks for stopping by!