Thoughts on Flow and Embroidery

My floss bag is transparent (Copyright Hanna Andersson)
This transparent make up bag is a great holder of my embroidery floss – I don’t need to empty it out to find the color I’m looking for – love that! Though maybe I need to organize my threads it a bit better some day…

This summer I have been doing some free form embroidery, as I mentioned earlier. I think of the sewing that I’m doing right now as experimenting and learning. No matter how much you read or look in great books sooner or later you have to dip your toes to really learn something. When doing a stitch you copy it to your brain and then you can make your own progress. It won’t be perfect, but that doesn’t really matter. I’m not aiming for perfect when sewing (or doing anything) – I always love that what comes out is so much me; imperfect but colorful and bright. I think that’s what I like most about evolving crafting into art, it mirrors my inside very well no matter how I feel. Giving yourself permission to try new techniques is a must. Sometimes we call that “play”. Experimenting with no end result in my mind makes us free (to play), to make mistakes and not worry about the finished piece.

Free form embroidery is very much a new art form for me, and I’m loving it more and more.

I love when the art I do is about the process not the end result, and I’ve been thinking about it since I started reading Michele Cassou and Steward Cubley’s book Life, Paint and Passion (reclaiming the magic of spontaneous expression) earlier this year. It’s a great book about painting without a plan, and the thoughts can be applied to any art form (for example embroidery).

When your art is about the process, the act of creating, you feel that you are not influenced by other peoples art too much and you don’t have to think about where the piece will be used or where it will end up hanging.
- Will anybody like this? becomes an unnecessary question. When you only concentrate on the process you will not get caught in those thoughts. You will keep going from one strand of embroidery floss to the next. To me, that is flow. And through my creative flow my true art is born.

I’ve been sewing layers of different fabrics to the background, using different loose stitches to attach the material to the background fabric. It feels like doing collage but without the speed and ease of a glue stick. Embroidery, is as I’ve talked about before, a slow process. A meditation where you can not hurry for results. This is good for me because I often feel a longing when I craft for The Finished Product. The End. But I know that it’s the road that makes the trip worth while, not the end of the journey, so slow is good.

Slow is not stressful or productive. It just is. It is mindfulness for sure, and after a while you might feel the “flow” of non-thinking and “just doing”. Not much planning is needed here. When you finish you might want to hurry on to the next thing, to start up a new project quickly – but when you are in the midst of the project you should really enjoy it.

At night I sometimes lay out my work by the bed so I see it first thing when I wake up. It makes for a nice start of that day.

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8 Responses to Thoughts on Flow and Embroidery

  1. MissKoolAid says:

    What a lovely post! Inspiring as always. I agree with you that we should enjoy the process of creating more than the finished product itself. This is definitely something I want to do. Be in the moment while creating.

    Hugs,
    Sophie

  2. iHanna says:

    Thanks sweet Sophie!
    I think I’m always in “the moment” when I’m truly creating, but sometimes when I look at projects strewn around me I think I’m in a hurry to finish them… hehe. It’s complicated. I was reading your blog post about not getting comments but still posting – I was reading it in google reader and didn’t click through to comment… guess I’m guilty of not always letting you know that I do read and wait for your projects to be posted! Hugs back!

  3. Mia says:

    Hej,
    Du har s? himla sk?n inst?llning till ditt skapande som jag verkligen ?nskar att jag hade. Perfektionism ?r ett gigantiskt hinder i mitt fall. Jag m?ste verkligen ta tag i det och jobba med min inst?llning. Tack f?r att du skriver, visar och ber?ttar. Det f?r mig inspirerad och nu ska jag b?rja jobba med mitt s?tt att t?nka kring mitt skapande.

    Ha det b?st!

  4. Kristina says:

    I agree with you completely, Hanna – the best creations are those that have been created without thinking about the outcome. The process has to be enjoyed and not rushed, but sometimes it’s so hard to achieve this… We get inspired and want to have the end result here and now! So don’t be in a hurry and create only when you feel there’s nothing else you’d rather be doing.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your embroidery.

  5. makealife says:

    I always find i have the most fun creating things , when i just sit down and experiment with some materials.HMMM yoiuve got me inspired to have ago at free form embrodiery.So must go and buy some threads now….

  6. Marie says:

    A good reminder: Keep our eyes on the process not the outcome.
    I like that! I really enjoy embroidery and hand stitching and for a while I did not have my sewing machine and I thought once it is fixed I will be on it all the time…not so…I have discovered a love affair with
    my slow, meditative hand embroidery and hand stitching. Thank you
    for sharing.

  7. iHanna says:

    Mia, tack f?r din kommentar i min blog! F?r mig blir det aldrig s? d?r “perfekt” s? jag str?var heller inte efter det… Jag tror inte jag tror p? att n?got kan vara “perfekt”, f?r i s? fall – med vems ?gon ska man m?ta resultatet? Kanske handlar det om att vara i nuet och njuta av “g?randet”, och n?r man ?r klar bara l?gga undan det man skapat i en bok eller en l?da. Inte titta p? det s? kritiskt. Ibland beh?ver det g? en tid innan man kan uppskatta det man gjort. Jag tycker det ?r suver?nt att du b?rjat jobba med ditt s?tt att t?nka – jag tror p? dig!

    Decemberkram!

  8. Tammy says:

    This is a lovely, eloquent post about something so important to me, focusing on the joy of simply creating art without worrying about the end result. That’s everything to me.

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