On my studio table: last stitched pages and sense of place
“If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are’.” – Wendell Berry
I wanted to post the last two pages and their inspiration for the hanging book I finally titled “A Sense of Place”.
The Buttonbush is found at Adkins Arboretum and when I saw the image of the flowers I knew I had to do something based on it. How cool is that little fuzzy ball!
The Devil’s Walking Stick is another plant that grows in the eastern part of the US. It has these spiky thorns that jut out from its bark that look like they’d be extremely painful if you brushed alongside them. I’m guessing that’s where the common name came from. I could see someone looking at the branch and saying “that would make a walking stick only fit for the devil himself!”
Sense of place is what we experience in a landscape, what we know about where we live, and the stories the land holds. Having moved quite a bit, it is a theme that I grapple with. The interesting thing is that with each move, what helped me ground myself is learning the local flora and fauna. They tell a story and they tell a story of belonging.
All these pages were inspired by the plants and trees that reside at the Adkins Arboretum.
As I was stitching these pages I thought about how these were laborious, not in a bad way, but in the sense that hand stitching takes time. Stitch by stitch by stitch until a shape forms. But I think about how season after season nature does the same. The intricate veins on the backside of a leaf if translated to thread for the human eye to appreciate would be a wonder to see. And the rings on a tree is a record of growth and life that was created cell by cell. Whether made by human hand or plant cell- is one more valuable than the other? Well, actually the plant is! Without the plants labor we would not be able to breathe or eat. The engineering miracles of the living creatures and plants around us really are jaw dropping once you learn about it.
And the stitching, as always in my work, is about connections- past, present and future. We are all connected.
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” – Chief Seattle, 1855