I come back to this space again, after a very long time. In the global dystopian atmosphere of this last year, seems strange to me to post here about happy and serene things. But anyway, here we go, these are the drawings I did in 2019 to document the streets of my city, the places I walk by everyday. These drawings are a diary, a compulsion, a daily habit, a way to alleviate anxiety and to keep my hands busy, a place to hide in, a safe space.
I didn’t use this space for such a long time, but in empty days like today it feels good to speak into the void of the internet.
2018 was a very mixed year for me, with an important professional achievement, with new and deepened friendships, but also, on a different level, with new nuances of worry and self-doubt.
But anyway, drawing almost every day in 2018, even if only a few lines, was one of the best things I have done for myself. Drawing without any plan, without any purpose, just putting onto page the images of the streets I walk by. I’ll definitely continue this in 2019.
…In different notebooks.
I hoped to finish ten new embroideries this summer, but it looks like I’ll have maybe three. I did embroider a lot, but I started a large self-portrait and I really enjoyed doing really small stitches and taking my time. The hoop is 35 cm in diameter. It’s my favorite embroidery I made thus far, I’ll probably frame it. I stitched it on cotton canvas that I have dyed with onion peels and turmeric (it’s from the same old bed sheet that I used for sewing a blouse.) I used the sewing machine with a thread in a very similar color to the canvas for larger surfaces (like the forehead), but I stitched most of it by hand. I like the “watercolor” effect this embroidery has, even more so in reality (the photo makes the lines just a bit harsher).
When I finished it, I was kind of sorry to lose such a pleasant way to spend my free time, but I have already started another, very detailed, embroidery.
It’s really relaxing to me to make these drawings from time to time and just observe small scenes from our house. Also, I get to use my big collection of all sorts of colored pencils (I’m slightly obsessed with color pencils, I should make a post with all my sets, some found at the flea market and some bought new). The last set I bought have multiple colored leads, actually they have a few nuances of the same color in each pencil. I really like them and I use them a lot combined with other pencils I have.
This blouse is something I partially sew by myself as a school assignment, but also as something for myself to wear. My friend helped me with some of the sewing, but I made a lot of things by myself, too (I copied the pattern, I cut the fabric and I did some of the sewing). Also, I dyed the fabric (an old cotton sheet) with onion peels and turmeric and I embroidered the text. So, I can say I did a lot of it :).
The fabric is really nice, the old cotton has a softness that only something that was used for a long time gets. Also, I like the color that turned out after dyeing it. I lose some of the color with each washing (even if I fixed it with vinegar and I wash it only by hand in cold water), but still it becomes paler and paler. But, at some point, I can dye it again, because the embroidery thread I used is synthetic, so it won’t be affected by the dye. But, for now, it’s fine.
I embroidered on it a text in my handwriting that you can see only if you come close enough and you make an effort to read. There are random thoughts that I had while working a lot at home during this spring, but if you don’t read them, they are just a vibrating color and texture. The text, roughly translated, says: ” …the small noise that the needle makes when it goes trough the fabric…I listen to the news and a sea of anxiety and despair overflows…sometimes, hope…when you get closer to reaching the age of forty, everything is the same, only you judge yourself a little less harshly…and getting legitimization from others is much less important…sometimes…this body that carries me through the world so well…maybe there is some more ice cream left in the fridge… ”
I started this embroidery at my favorite class in the M.A. program I joined this fall. I used for the first time a needle felting machine and I was really excited to use a new technique for my embroideries. I did an outline of the self portrait, I felted the lighted parts and then I stitched the above the felting and the shadow parts. I didn’t want to use wool and I wasn’t sure if artificial fibers will work, but they did, and I’m glad I can still use this technique even if I try to avoid using animal products. It was really relaxing to do this and I like the result. It’s not perfectly similar to me physically but I do recognize myself in its atmosphere.