Sunday, February 14, 2021

The Lessons of Hand Stitched Lettering


I've heard several friends refer to hand stitching as a form of meditation.  I used to think that wasn't the way I experienced it.  But I've just changed my mind after starting the book, How To Meditate-A Guide to Self-Discovery by Lawrence LeShan.

If I can paraphrase, Mr. LeShan describes meditation as a practice in which you are always striving for improvement, acknowledging your shortcomings, meanderings and frustrations along the way.

I now realize hand stitching is like meditation for me.  I'm really pretty bad at the nuts and bolts of it.  I'm not a consistent stitcher and no matter how hard I try to work towards exact stitches my words are rarely even or good looking.

But I persist.    



My mother, to whom I owe my great curiosity for and ease in making things with my hands, passed away in 1992.  Not only was she a passionate serial maker but she had a phrase for everything.  

The day she passed away her sayings began to pop up in my mind.  I started writing them down and for the next week I kept writing.  They just flooded back, one after another.


By the time we gathered at her grave, I had a pageful of them and recited them that day as my eulogy.  During this time of covid I've been cleaning drawers, file cabinets, the garage, the basement, you name it.  It was in one of these clearing that I found that piece of paper with all of her sayings.


Mom always encouraged me to make things.  Tables were set around the house with materials she was currently using to make one thing or another and I had full access.  What a gift.  To learn at an early age the effortless practice of just sitting down to start something using your hands.  No judgement about the way it will turn out.



The only thing she hated to do was cook.  She was a good cook with a two week rotation but she never liked it.  When I came home from school and saw the turquoise electric skillet set out on the counter I knew dinner would be Rice a Roni and Jimmy Dean Sausage casserole.


This shirt started out with just her sayings but as it went along I felt the need to tell her story.  



Here is Otafuku, from a Japanese folktale.  She represents mirth, joy and good fortune. 


This was a project that took over 8 months to finish.  Mostly because hand stitching is a love/hate thing with me.  I used a thrift store Brooks Brothers shirt.

I haven't worn it yet, not sure it was ever intended to wear.  Maybe this spring.

 

22 comments:

  1. A lovely tribute to a beautiful soul.

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  2. I love this! We saved my mother-in-laws sayings, this is giving me ideas💜

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    1. Great. I hope you do something with your MIL's saying! Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Your shirt is a great idea, maybe you could wear it when visiting with family.

    Thanks for the reminder of Lawrence LeShan. He must have been 100 years old when he died last year. I used to read the writings of his wife, Eda LeShan. A remarkable couple.

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    1. Sad to say, my family is no more. Memories are what I have.

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  4. Wow! I'm speechless. What an incredibly beautiful tribute to a maker and your mother. I hope you do wear it and it brings you joy when you do.

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  5. I love Relaxez-vous and all the others I can read. It's a lovely thing to have done.

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  6. Yeah, she said that to us when we got to worked up about something. Thanks Barbara!

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  7. This is so beautiful! I love the miniature bakery your mom (I think) made for your bakery.

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    1. Yes, she was the maker of the little bakery. Have you seen the miniature Santa's Workshop she made? We put it out every Christmas! It's my favorite! Thanks so much, Cathy!

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    2. I have seen the Christmas workshop! I’m in Boulder Creek and pre-pandemic met friends at the bakery every Tuesday night. Good times!

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  8. Replies
    1. Thank you, Karen. I'm sort of surprised how this resonated with so many people!

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  9. Fabulous Gayle. Great memories.

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  10. Love the idea of the shirt. One thing your mother hated, I hate. I also hate to cook. Your mother would love this shirt.

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    1. Love your comment! And, I never thought about what she would have thought of it. Love that idea! Thanks so much.

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  11. Heavens to Mergatrord! I used to say that. Must research where that came from!

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