Tuesday, June 09, 2015

women's work, women's worth

I am re-blogging  someone else's post
about women's self esteem
and speaking out loud about our own worth
and our own work.
Arlee Barr shared it on facebook, which is how I found it.
Here it is:        The Pale Rook - June 5
However, all the images in this post are of the vintage crazy patchwork art-piece that Julia McCutcheon brought in to share with the slow stitch group last week.  She'd brought it in before, but I didn't have my camera with me and I asked her to bring it again so that I could photograph it.
 I thought that you might enjoy the zig zags and the birds,
the red thread,
 and the re-purposed hems from vintage linens.
The outlining of those perfect bits, discovered and saved.


  1. that is one enjoyably eccentric patchwork--is it a historical piece or recent work of the person who shared it? i think of a woman fragmented, then put back together as she pleases, no rules, no straight lines, only shape important

  2. I believe that this piece has been in Julia's family for a while. I should ask more specific details - I was too blown away when I saw the red thread used with such intent and freedom, outlining and decorating the most beautiful parts of daily cloth.

    Thank you Arlee for sending me to the Pale Rook.

  3. stitching love into the world

  4. Thanks to both you and Arlee for sharing that great post. And I love the red and white cloth - I've been thinking of doing some embroidery with red thread and seeing this just makes me all the more excited to give it a try.

  5. Thanks Heather. I'm glad that you went to the post in the link. Highlights from the post:

    I feel bad about people paying for my work because I think that the people who buy and even those who appreciate my work are somehow being duped. At some point I am going to be found out to be an imposter. I feel bad when my work is considered valuable.
    issue number 1 - I do not trust or value my talent
    issue number 2 - I worry that I am somehow going to get into trouble for showing off. I feel as if I openly value my work then people won't like me.
    Please like me. Please like me.

    I see this in my female students. women constantly and persistently do one thing when they present their work, regardless of how good it is or how hard they have worked on it or how good they believe it to be. They apologize for it. Even when given positive feedback, they tell you how it would have been better if they'd done something different. So about 6 years ago I banned my students from using the word sorry, and we did an experiment. They had to present their work without saying a negative word about it and throughout the exercise would have no encouragement or feedback from me whatsoever.

    Let me be clear. Speaking about themselves without negativity reduced several women and girls to tears and silence. Then there would come a moment when the student voice would even out. They would begin to say what they wanted to say, not what they thought I wanted to hear.

    There would be a change in tone and volume that was so moving I can't even describe it. They spoke without apology or expectation about what they loved about their own talent and when they realized that no one was laughing at them, no one was horrified, no one had stopped loving the then their voice would get stronger and clearer and calmer.

    I could write forever about why we have these layers of apology within ourselves, shy we feel we need to be small to be liked. I won't thought because I've got way too much to be getting on with.

    From now on, I refuse to reduce my own value."

    Johanna Flanagan, Scottish Textile Artist, The Pale Rook

  6. As women we don't help each other sometimes. I put a hand-dyed, hand-pieced, hand-quilted quilt in a local show and decided to put a price on it that reflected the number of hours in the work. The woman who was doing in=take saw the quilt and my form and said..."Are you kidding? That's ridiculous...nobody will ever pay that..." I left the price where it was...and there was my quilt amidst the usual sort of quilts, like the lone ranger...

  7. I was just about to post a blog about self confidence. I'm glad I came here first.

    Bonnie, I'd have gravitated to yours first, because they make my heart beat a bit faster.

    Judy: the problem I have, and that I've seen others have, is that if they make something similar to something unique, they feel like they're ripping someone else off. If we borrow an idea, ARE we ripping someone off? If someone chops down some brush to make a new path and a handful of people follow, chopping down the brush to the sides to make their own path off that one, is that ok?

    I think most of us have the need for approval. I know I wish that I didn't. I'm glad you posted that link, I'm going to read it a few times a day for a while.

    The highlight you posted made me want to well up, too. I feel for them. I feel for us. They have the right to create without self abuse.

  8. I clicked over and read the post and oh how it did resonate with my bones. Thank you so very much for sharing it. Every now and then I get excited over an idea or over something I've written or over something I've stitched or over a story I've told that made people laugh and think. But somewhere along the way, i see my abuser's face - his lips curled up under his top teeth giving him the look of an animal going after his prey - and I hear his voice hissing and spitting at me things like "You are the ugliest, stupidest, most worthless piece of humanity I've ever come across." and "You aren't creative. You can't even tie your own shoelaces without help." and "Go ahead and break up with me. Who on earth do you think is going to date such a big loser as you are?" - any and all hisses spat at me just before the physical slap arrived. He covered all the bases.

    Sure, that was many decades ago. Sure, I'm a grown woman with grown children. Sure, I have a loving, supportive husband. But still, I hear the abuser's words. I see his face. I feel the sting.

    Sometimes I wonder if I am capable of stitching anything beautiful, meaningful, desirable from my own Self or if my best shot at beautiful is to ride (or stitch) Nancy's coattails.

    It's astounding how cruel we can be to ourselves. How hugely we can undervalue our work. How long we allow others to set our worth.

  9. Thanks for sharing this, spot on for me as well. To the point of not even making art, just thinking about it...

    And Arlee, loved this too: "a woman fragmented, then put back together as she pleases, no rules, no straight lines, only shape important "

  10. Sarah Abraham10:36 am


    I appreciate your work and your comments very much. They give me courage every day to continue my needlework, laborious as the task is. I appreciate your humility, openness and understanding of the worth of your work.

    I add to this blog the work of anonymous women, brought together by the collector, Joanna Rose. It is on my blogsite.



  11. Sarah, thank you for your link which gives more photos of the red and white quilts that were shown at the armory. I would have loved to have seen that wonderful exhibit.



Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx