Thursday, June 22, 2017

Healing with Cloth and Stitch

Susan G.: Detail of healing cloth: Portrait of a family relationship
This past weekend, I held my Patching, Stitching, Weaving: Creating Healing Cloth workshop (The Art League School, Alexandria, VA). The premise of this workshop is that the act of stitching and mending can be a metaphor for healing. For this go-round, I decided to revamp the class handout. I wanted to open up the possibilities for types of "cloths" that students could create (including: healing (for another or for self), protection, meditation, transition or celebration) and also to have students do some journaling exercises at the beginning of class as a way to set a clear intention. I then covered different ways to create a base fabric (patching, collaging and/or weaving fabrics) and also applique, reverse applique and stitching techniques.

Susan G.: First of a series of six healing cloths representing each of her siblings (and herself) in relation to family. This piece represents one sibling who decided to break off from other family members. Susan plans to use pieces of her family tartan in each piece.
Diane M.: Healing cloth for a friend whose grandchild is undergoing treatment for leukemia. Lace doilies are used as clouds with organza and beads moving from dark to light. The word "hope" is couched ending with a blue bird of happiness.
Diane M.: Detail.
Donna P.: Meditation cloth. Donna wanted to make a piece that reminded her of the she could meditate on! Lots of lovely textures, use of natural objects, and soft colors.
Melanie H.: Melanie created a piece jumping off from photos of human DNA and microscopic images. She created all the fabrics used in this piece. Lots of subtle stitching and beading to enhance and add texture.

I was very pleased with the results. Each piece tells a story and fulfills the intention of the artist.

Marine W.: Meditation cloth. Marine used her own hand painted/printed fabrics in these lovely soft colors. She further softened the intersections with organza and is now adding seeding stitch.
Marine W.: Detail showing seeding stitches.
Jutta M.: Jutta stitched together this wonderful nine patch using a selection of nature-inspired fabrics. She is planning to add some small stitched stars to complete this meditation cloth.
Megan P.: Megan decided to create a two-sided meditation cloth. This side is the evening meditation cloth in softer, calmer colors. Megan is a painter who is working on a series of paintings featuring insects. She decided to carry this subject matter over to her meditation cloths. Megan looked up the symbolism of the insects she used. For this evening meditation cloth she is featuring a scorpion.
Megan P.: Here is the morning meditation side with brighter colors and more contrast. This side will feature stitched ants.
Megan P.: Here are some of the stitched ants!
Catherine D.: Catherine is working on a transition/healing piece. The left side symbolizes where she has been. Catherine is the circle..that has undergone a lot but is now being mended. She is heading to a place that will be full of energy and positive things (to come!).
Rebecca K.: This is also a transition/healing piece. The weaving represents the man-made...complications. The open areas..simplification. Other parts of this colorful and textural piece have special and significant meaning to Rebecca.
Rebecca K.: Detail of woven area.
Thank you students! It was an inspiring weekend. Thank you for sharing your stories.

If you live in the Washington DC area and think you'd like to take this workshop, I teach it twice a year the fall and in the spring/summer. Please feel free to leave a comment if you would like more information.


  1. Enjoyed seeing this. Interested in the Workshop. How do I find out the details?

    1. Hi Vivian- Thanks for your comment. I teach this weekend workshop at The Art League School in Alexandria, VA. I'll be teaching it again in June 2020. You can contact me at: for more details