Growing a tree…
Once upon a time there was a woman who was fascinated by trees. She went out almost every day taking photos of them, and when she wasn’t snapping pictures, she’d be gazing at trees, and occasionally talking to them…
It just happens that the same woman is an obsessive stitcher (yes, it’s me – you guessed).
So she decided – not for the first time – to grow one in stitches.
She didn’t know exactly what it was going to look like, but she had an idea – a touch of awen– which she sketched onto the canvas.
A riot of colours were swooshing around in her mind, and eventually she chose the ones she was going to use.
It was autumn and lots of things were happening in her life, but gradually, stitch by tiny stitch, the tree began to appear.
She took the initial lines and gradually elaborated on them with the threads, letting her imagination decide where to take them.
Sometimes, when there were dark days, the repetitive, meditative process of stitching took her mind away from problems and sadness, and gave her peaceful, mindful moments. And all the time the tree continued to grow – watered just a few times with her tears.
But there was a lot of happiness too. She thoroughly revelled in cosying up on the sofa when it was cold outside, thick woolly socks on her feet, listening to the radio or TV while on she stitched.
Time passed, Christmas came and a new year began.
The tree took shape.
And all the unknown spaces, all the blank areas on the initial design, were filled with silk, wool and metallic threads.
Until at last, one day, there were no more spaces to fill…
27 thoughts on “Slow Art In Action…”
This is so incredibly beautiful. It makes me feel at rest and loved by trees. I am a tapestry weaver and am thinking of trees a lot so I think this needs to be translated into a tapestry. Thank you for the wonderful photos of your work process.
Thank you for your lovely words, they are much appreciated. I’m a huge fan of tapestry weavers – I’d love to see how trees would look in your work 🙂
Glorious, it’s so full of life and so beautiful. What a perfect post 😊
Oh thanks Phil – glad you like it 🙂
That’s a great success – clearly, not just as a design, but as a process!
Thank you – it’s so much about the process isn’t it, it’s what keeps us at it.
Fabulous! Love the story of its creation too and hope that the tears that watered it have now dried?
Oh that’s kind, thank you. I lost my closest and oldest friend in the autumn, she was 6 months younger than me, we’d been best friends since school. She had MND which is hideously cruel and watching her decline was terribly moving. But yes, she was incredibly strong and brave and we’re trying to be that too. x
Such a restful post! Your colours work really well together; I like the little snippets of green.
I’m so glad you like it! I love that green – it’s an amazing silk I found a while ago and it seems to demand to be included in a lot of pieces 🙂
enjoyed the story. like the sparse markings at the start of the journey and how much body and life has been added. Stitching is a great companion to so many moods isn’t it?
You’re absolutely right Kay – part of the appeal to me is the way that such simple materials transform into something much heavier, dense and strong – as you put it, it gains life. And yes, I think over the years I’ve stitched my way through most imaginable moods xxx
I’m always non-plussed when people say ‘that must have taken ages’ or ‘that must have been a lot of work’. They completely miss the point that people who create, whether it be a beautiful piece of stitchery, a knitted shawl or a batch of marmalade do it because they love the process as well as the finished product. I love your finished product and I loved reading about its creation.
Yes, yes, yes! Absolutely right. I’m always being told I must have fantastic patience, but I really don’t, what I do have is a complete love of the process and that’s at the heart of it. x
Wow, that is utterly stunning! Even the original design speaks to my heart – all those wonderful mystical spirals.
Thank you! I don’t know where all the spirals come from, but they crop up again and again in my work – and I’m fascinated by them.
Yay! Its so beautiful! I love the sense of movement and it has a bit of a ‘starry night’ quality, which I love.
So beautiful Anny, your colours are stunning, as ever, and is that French knots I see giving texture, or some other stitchy magic? Glorious
So sorry to be tardy replying, events rather got ahead of me for a few days 🙂
Thank you – glad you like it. They aren’t actually French knots, it’s just couching metallic thread with the same metallic thread, but even close up it does look very much like little beads – maybe just a tiny bit of stitchy magic!
What a beautiful and reflective post, and so good to see the piece grow from the bare canvas and the selection of threads and yarns to its wonderful conclusion.
Thanks Steph, much appreciated. Some pieces seem to flow really easily for no good reason and this was one of those.
What a wonderful story and stunning piece!
Thanks Vicki – really glad you like it 🙂
Oh I adore this. I can believe how the process of embroidering this Tree of Life can be a meditative experience. Beautiful! 😀👏❤️
Thank you! I’m pretty sure that repetitive hand-stitching is as effective a form of meditation as many, and probably what’s kept a lot of women in particular sane over the centuries! Lovely to meet you in Bogland 🙂
Beautiful, I love the colours and the simplicity of the tree shape and that you’ve included its roots.It puts me in mind of a Baobab tree.
Thank you Theresa, I sometimes try to imagine what’s happening under the ground, it must be wonderful…