Why do we embroider? Here in Canada it's a way of making our personal mark. The texture and weight of the thread is interesting for the eye and the slowness of the act seems thoughtful. Thread is familiar to everyone and so there's an intimate connection with the viewer. Each embroiderer has her own style, and those of us who love to look, can recognize makers without having to read their names just like we can recognize painters. Embroidery is more like drawing than it is like sewing.
In 'world' textiles from countries like India and North Africa embroidery is more like a tattoo. It marks out who you are, where you come from, and what your social status is. Specific colours in certain stitches identify and also protect the wearer. Embroidery is used in ceremony for important life passages. Red is the most common colour used in folk embroidery around the world.
I gather my thoughts and materials together for my trip to London, Ontario on Sunday. My workshop about the power and beauty of hand stitched textiles is next week. I'm looking forward to the ferry trip and the drive through south western Ontario. I'm looking forward to meeting the women who will be taking my class - and getting to know them each really well over the five days.
I'm over preparing again. I don't teach that many workshops, but I could not give up this opportunity to meet Jane Dunnewold, who is the other teacher. I have learned so much from her book Complex Cloth over the years, and last year I heard her speak in Kansas City at the Surface Design Association's conference. She's a really lovely human being.