This white on white is the first of the randomly stitched embroideries that I have been doing. I have been negligent about posting pictures of what I am now referring to as my Books and Needles Project, even though I have been totally absorbed in it since September.
The embroideries are the opposite of the folded books. Unlike the books which are folded in silence, I embroider with distractions. I do not plan them, there are no sketches or diagrams that I am following. The embroideries are like and unlike doodles.
They are like doodles in that they are unplanned and done with a distraction. But the distraction is deliberate and purposeful.
To start with, I used the radio or my music for a distraction. Music holds my attention and I tend to stop what I am doing to listen. This doesn't surprise me. I could never study with the music playing, and I find it difficult to do any painting beyond undercoats to music as well.
This embroidery was done to NPR, because speaking doesn't hold my focus like music. I doodled through lectures so that I could pay attention to what was said. Doodles are a focusing mechanism for me. I have always thought it was weird when people accused me of not paying attention because of all the doodling.
Now I have switched to recorded books. I have two reasons for this.
The first is that they are books, the same medium as the folded objects, and I like the symmetry of this. The other parallel is historical. Embroidery work was often done while someone else was reading aloud, with the stitcher listening as she worked.
I will be showing more of this project this month. Maybe writing about it will help me explain why I am compelled to do this. I have never felt the urge to work on anything as forcibly as I do about this. It is as though some outside force is standing over me with a whip and a chair compelling me to work on this.