This week began a new journey for 12, count-em, 12 Stitch and Surface students at Fleisher! I am pleased and honored that so many people want to learn embroidery. I always worry about the first class, as I'm not sure if I go over people's heads with too much at once, or if they already have a handle on basics and will be bored. Based on the questions and production of this group on the first class, it seemed just about right!
I like to start off stitch classes with the idea of a sampler. Our great-great grandmothers all started off learning not only stitching, but even their ABC's and 1,2,3's with a needle in hand. However, if you wanted to make a sampler like theirs, you would have gone to a cross-stitch shop and picked up a kit. I abhor kits- make something from yourself! Most samplers have the common elements of a border, some words or letters, and an image. Within those loose guidelines is a lot of room for creativity. Seen above is a sampler that started off as a demo on Lazy Daisy stitches (see the orange blossom in the center?). It then grew and grew as I played with different stitches and textures, adding words that felt right with the image as I went along.
Samplers are for you. They're for learning and referring back to. Mistakes are part of the process. I saw a reproduction of a sampler by Emily Dickinson today, and half the alphabet was incomplete and some of the words in her proverb were squeezed in smaller than the rest to fit. When I'm making a "sampler" I feel very free. I have no preconceptions for it. It's totally outside of my regular train of artistic thought. It exercises my fingers but doesn't tax my mind. Like doing scales on a piano.
This was a Wordle I created on http://www.wordle.net/ using words from my blogpost. It's called "doodlestitching". It would make a great sampler.........