There seems to be no running theme, like medallions, neatly tying this page together. I have chosen it for the doodle of the week, because I like the total composition rather than any one particular element.
I do like the cats and the horse images though, and the little vacuum or robot thing in the bottom right mass of freeform doodling.
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.
I figure this out when I write about them, but I am deeply involved in my current project and it has been taking all my time. I have a backlog of cool doodles, I just haven't taken the time from my project to scan and write about them.
I am working on two separate things which are somehow connected. I just don't know how yet. That is the problem with this whole thing. It is so compelling to me, I absolutely must do it, I have no choice. But, I have no idea of what I am working towards. Will it meld into a single project or will it remain two separate things joined only by the fact that they are done in the same period of time?
There is no fixed star to guide myself by, no destination on a map. The end keeps moving as I approach.
There are lots of rules I have to follow. My current thought is that the rules themselves may be the important thing in this project, more than the objects themselves.
I have to fold the books in total silence. That the work must be done in silence reminds me of monks and religious discipline, of duty and presence.
I have to work on the embroideries with a mental distraction, like a doodle. I am no longer working from doodles, I am working on them without any kind of guide now. They are doodles, stitched doodles.
I have also started a third element. I am embroidering on the books once they are folded. I am not just decorating them to decorate the surface. The pattern of stitching is rhythmic. It may even another alphabet, represent an a language. Or emphasize the silences.