Monday, September 7, 2015

Healing Cloth Workshop

Rosemary B. mended her favorite apron with bits and pieces of family textiles rich with history.

This past weekend, I taught my Patching, Stitching, Weaving: Creating Healing Cloth workshop. As I mentioned in a previous post, it is a workshop that is "near and dear" to my heart. I always look forward to seeing the path this class takes. There are often many interesting discussions about who the cloth is for and why it is being created. Most students work on small wall hangings but this time a couple of the participants decided to take a different route...

Some of the textiles Rosemary plans to incorporate into her apron.
Rosemary B. brought in a favorite shibori apron that was torn. She also brought in many generations-worth of textiles rich with family history. There were aprons from her grandmother, hand-stitched pillow cases, a lovely stitched bonnet, a beautiful tatted covering, an almost-completed crewel embroidery (by her mother), pieces stitched by her two great aunts and even a piece of her daughter's work. So much history! Rosemary decided that she wanted to mend her apron with bits and pieces from the textiles made by these strong women. She told us about her grandmother, who at the age of eleven had to quit school and take on the responsibilities of raising her two surviving sisters (Rosemary's great grandmother and her grandmother's baby sister died during the influenza epidemic of 1918). She also told us about her great grandfather who was a waterman harvesting oysters and Maryland blue crabs from the waters of Chesapeake an oyster shell also became part of this family tribute. I can't wait to see this piece when it's complete!

An oyster shell attached to the apron to symbolize her great grandfather...who was a waterman on the Chesapeake.
Ann Z. brought in the almost-completed, sweet little dog piece from the last session of the Story Cloth class. I love this sassy little pup! She is making it for her granddaughter's seven-year old foster son. Ann met him this summer and he helped her pick out thread colors to stitch the piece.

Unfortunately, this sweet little boy is having many adjustment problems and Ann decided to use the Healing Cloth workshop to create a special "super hero" for him. While she was visiting, Ann noticed that her foster grandson loved to put on a colorful wrestling costume and dance around the house. Ann decided to create a flat doll super hero she is calling Buffalo Boy. The buffalo symbolizes protection, strength and balance.

Ann printed the buffalo symbol which will become part of the super hero's top.

Peggy G. is working on a piece that incorporates one of her favorite symbols--the spiral. She talked about how she is learning to live fully while understanding her limitations.

Lynn C. wove together strips of subtly-dyed fabric. She is patiently stitching each intersection with tiny running stitches. This stitching is a mediation for her...something to carry with her to work on when she sits in the hospital caring for a loved one.

A meditation of tiny stitches using variegated thread.
Two of my students were a bit under the weather...but I'm looking forward to seeing what Celia P. and Barbara M-C create...hopefully when I see them at a future Stitch-In.

Thank you all for a great usual...probably way too much information and more time needed for stitching!


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Robbie- so do I! Hand stitching has become so important to me again. Planning a really "cool" class for the winter.

  2. A place to share, a place to gather and sounds like a wonderful rich class.

    1. Hi Mary Ann- I look forward to experiencing it each time...each class so individual and wonderful stories!