My original reason for starting a blog was to participate in the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge set up by Sharon B. I can't tell you how much I am humbled by her energy, expertise and artistic talent. While I haven't finished all the weeks (I've reached 47 although I haven't blogged it yet), I have been pushed into many new things by the challenge and I will be eternally grateful to Sharon for setting it up.
Once I started participating in Sharon's challenge, I realized that there were many, many textile blogs out there. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent looking at all the wonderful things everyone out there is doing. I've added many inspired ideas to my visual journal thanks to my blog surfing.
At that point, I was working a couple of consulting jobs from home, but in March, I was able to start working more outside the home. Many years ago I 'retired' from full time work as a library director to stay home with my children. While I was able to fit in part-time work back in NY, when we moved there weren't enough hours between my morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times. With the change in grades I have a good stretch of time to get out now. It was great to get back into a library and work at a busy reference desk. I forgot how much I love a university atmosphere. Of course, it means less time for stitching and blogging but I usually do feel more energized and creative after a good day at work.
I have summers off for childcare, so I was able to catch up and try new things then. I wrote an article about the tapestry project I worked on with my daughter's art club (see the Dec. NeedleArts magazine). My biggest inspiration was going up to Plimoth Planation in MA to work on the reproduction jacket project. That has totally changed the direction I want to go with my embroidery.
I started back at the university again in September where I'm doing some things that I find professionally exciting (I know, you are wondering what is exciting about being a librarian, but really, it is fun) I was also asked to be on the EGA National Youth Program Committee and edit the Crayons to Threads column for NeedleArts. That was a great honour (plus I still do the chapter newsletter). And the Sampler Round Robin I am in seems to be moving again. At least I have finished one and have another to do, so that is good.
My blogging has been sporadic. I constantly question why I'm doing it and why anyone would care. But I am so inspired by others, maybe somebody will find what I do interesting as well. And since not many people blog stumpwork, I feel I need to keep going with that, just to encourage more people.
All in all, I am pleased with what I have accomplished in the last year. Especially since I have also been working at the barn one or two evenings a week for much of the year. I even took riding lessons for a while. Mind you, I can't be to complacent right now because the tree is only half decorated and there are still presents to buy.
I am looking forward to 2008. There are going to be some new work challenges, some column editing, and lots and lots of stitching. And I hope to do some work with the high school art guild in the coming year as well. I don't know if I'll participate in any more challenges though. I think I want to challenge myself to create the work that I've been planning since I first saw the 3-D embroidered gardens book. I'll keep you posted on that. I also want to explore some other ideas. Today Sharon b wrote about a new blog that has captured my interest, Red Thread Studio. Elaine Lipson writes about Slow Cloth, New Cloth and Art Cloth. I love doing hand sewing, so the idea of slow cloth really appeals to me. (One of my favourite places is the milliner's shop in Colonial Williamsburg) Elaine's third post mentions one of my favourite books Elizabeth Wayland Barber's Women's Work, The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth and Society in Early Times. There is a vague notion in my mind that somehow the ideas in Barber's book should combine with those in Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species by Sarah Hrdy to form an interesting take on why women feel and act as they do. I'm not sure what yet, but one day it will hit me.
I'm sure I've gone on long enough now, but I've at least interspersed my meanderings with some photos of current projects, and to end it all, some silk that I will be using to knit myself a lace scarf. If nothing else, over the last year I've learned that I can make something really special for myself, not just everyone else.