Slow Stitching

Simple straight stitch

Slow Stitching Stress Reduction: Engaging hands frees the mind

I’m bringing together health coaching and textile arts to bring some much needed relief to caregivers. Those who spend many hours each day caring for another person frequently put aside their own needs, and this provides them a time and space where they can care for their own souls and bodies.

This process is also helpful for those who have experienced trauma and PTSD. Our bodies remember traumatic events in order to avoid repeating them, but it can mean difficulty in concentrating, in following through on daily tasks, in managing emotions, in order to be ready if it should happen again. Slow Stitching is helpful in calming the body’s response to stress.

Airplane passengers are instructed to put on their own oxygen masks before helping others. Caregivers are better able to carry out their tasks if they take time out for their own care. Stitching has been shown to reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure, and frees up the mind to do some thinking.

Slow Stitching is not about needlepoint, cross stitch, quilting, or crewel, but about the process of putting a needle and thread in and out of a piece of cloth. It is not about making a finished object, or doing something “right”, but about the process and the journey.  Students may rediscover things about themselves that have been long buried or see changes in their stitching related to changes in their lives.

Garden Dreaming

Printing, paper, installation, garden
Garden Dreaming 1
garden, paper, installation, studio
Garden Dreaming in Process

These two pieces are from a midwinter residency at Vermont Studio Center when I was essentially homeless and moved to a new place every few days to a few weeks. I lived out of my suitcase, and yearned to have the stability an grounding of a garden. I have always had gardens, with culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, annual and perennial flowers,  vegetables of all sorts, fruit trees

Crochet, paper, garden, flowers
Garden Dreaming 2

– everything, and I was seriously grieving the loss of my growing and creating spaces.

The Lokta paper strips have the name of every garden plant I could think of. The first is an installation, with a studio view of the work in progress,  photographed from the proverbial dark upward toward the light, and the second is crocheted cotton, handmade paper, inkjet printing, copper wire, beads, and paper embroidery floss sleeves.