Doing needlework is a beautiful way to spend time, and be with oneself. It is a habit I have grown with, along with cats and dogs. So much of knitting done, knitted and tatted doilies made, so much embroidery done on clothes, I never really thought at that time I would be exploring needlework as an art-form later.
Having done both needlework and watercolors, it is easy for me to combine the two, or just start pell-mell with stitches, which are like brush-strokes. They can be small quick dashes, or long trails of couching. ‘Me and my cat’ was done long back from my own photo.
Landscapes and florals are my favorite themes, my work growing the same way as a less-tended garden, stitches moving haphazardly all over. The idea, I find is not so much to depict nature as to be like her, spontaneous, free-flowing and reckless, even unknowing. I might start without a firm idea, but I always move towards a balance, a harmony in color and aspect that is pleasing. ‘The gathering dusk’ is worked over a watercolor wash on net. ‘Window floral’ has some patches, a little zig-zag using the sewing machine, and hand-stitching.
Times I start with a watercolor wash, times I don’t (when I work on rug canvas) I also make up all kinds of stitches and others as I go along. It is always better to get some speed once a work is started and finish it before the onset of boredom.
‘Spring’ and ‘brown seedheads’ are worked on rug canvas using wool, and fabric fragments, putting my old clothes to good use.
The only idea is to make something beautiful and lovely 🙂 I have always loved and made and lost pretty things like lace handkerchiefs and doilies and my art is also on the pretty side. I have no truck with reality which is too harsh, and neither do I have any of it in my work. Not that it makes my work unreal because beautiful wide open landscapes with flowers do belong to this world in faraway places, one may not have seen them, but it is nice to dwell on them and make artwork that captures the spirit and beauty of such places.
All this knitting and so many years spent doing needlework and painting might give the impression that I have had an idyllic life. Nothing is further from the truth. A lot of pain, stress and suffering has gone into it.
Living in one’s inner world with art, books, music and feeding the crows and squirrels is so nice, and I’m glad I found solace in the sweetest things in life.
Words and Art by artist Sunrita
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Categories: Guest Bloggers