Recently I visited the town that I grew up in. My son was in Ireland for a visit, and as we strolled by the river I saw that the chestnut trees planted in my childhood had become green giants. It was a beautiful and uplifting sight.
On the bridge, from a height, I could appreciate the expanse of scotts pine, chestnut, and dreadlocked silhouettes of oaks. The majestic canopy stretched up into the sky, each tree strong, each one glowing and vibrant.
That night the beauty of the full moon rising over the mountains was special. Did you know that in Irish the word for moon is ‘gealach‘? It derives from ‘geal‘ (pronounced gyal), which means ‘bright’ or ‘pale’.
Back home, I began experimenting with ideas for a new art piece. I sew, draw, and paint onto textiles destined for landfill. To add texture, I am experimenting with French knots. This means wrapping thread around a needle repeatedly to make a knot that stands up on the fabric.
Despite the name, knotted embroidery originated in ancient China, not France. It was first seen on a pair of silk shoes*. It is tragic that nowadays ‘made in China’ is often associated with cheap, badly made plastic goods and pollution when Chinese art and design is so stunning.
The only thing ‘stunning’ about my needlework at the moment is the sensations in my fingers when I accidentally prick them! Thankfully it only happens the odd time. Sharp needles are great, and design has come a long way: in 8th century Ireland they were made from bone or wood. ** Later, silver and bronze were used.
I love being in a creative flow. The fancier stitches will improve with practice no doubt, and I am in no rush. In the words of A.A. Milne “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there someday.”
* Leslie, Catherine Amoroso (2007). ‘Needlework through history: an encyclopedia.’