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Wednesday 3rd March 2021

When I was furloughed at the beginning of January, I wasn’t looking forward to the endless days and the feelings of listlessness that accompanies them. I knew I needed a project to keep me sane, calm and give me a sense of achievement. After a bit of umming and ahing I decided to have a crack at improving my hand embroidery. This, I thought, was a good idea because hand stitching is a slow, process that focuses your mind and helps you disconnect from the outside world. It is good to do whilst listening to a podcast, allowing you to be totally absorbed in the moment. In fact the link between mindfulness and stitching is very well documented. Perfect!


To add interest (not stress), I decided to extend my stitch vocabulary. I began to learn many new stitches, some I’d not even heard of before; Drizzle stitch, Pekinese stitch, Rosette chain, Double cast on scallop to name a few..


Simultaneously, I read about the work of Tilleke Schwarz, a contemporary, Dutch textile artist and a member of the 62 Group, whose work had long intrigued me. Tilleke is influenced by CoB

rA, a Second World War artistic movement that was important in The Netherlands. This group was characterised by not planning work, rather having an intuitive approach.

This process was ideal. I used my newly acquired stitch vocabulary to create 31 stitched flowers (1 for each day of the first month of lockdown 3). No unpicking, no planning, no pressure. The work flowed easily giving me pleasure and a sense of achievement which I really enjoyed.


Further reading into the work of Tilleke Schwarz revealed that the subject matter of her work is everyday life, the overlooked and the oddities of contemporary society. I find this idea fascinating and it couldn’t be more apt given the current circumstances. Inspired I added stitch drawings to my embroidery, simple depictions of the things that have kept me busy over this period. The work that has emerged could be described as a contemporary sampler – a visual representation, a snapshot of my experiences during lockdown.









. The work is now almost complete but I have decided to do some back filling. Giving the flowers simple stalks and filling the empty space with seed stitch will, I hope, give the finished piece more depth and work better as a composition.





Curiously pink is a colour that crops up a lot in my creative practice. As yet I haven’t really worked out why. It just feels right. Discussing this with my daughter she told me about drunk tank pink, a particular shade of pink that it known for its calming and soothing effects. Perhaps this is another reason why my stitching has helped me get through this difficult period.



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