One year ago my friend Lou Anne Sybenga and I started a project called #1yearofstitches or #onestitchaday. This challenge was begun by Hannah Claire Somerville. When I saw this project on Instagram it took my fancy. I had just finished a year long one-a-day project which required me to go outside everyday and make ephemeral art. So stitching was a nice change.
I decided to take Hannah’s idea and share it with my artistic muse and neighbour, Lou Anne. We decided to both start hoops and trade back and forth every couple of weeks. She chose a light pink ground and I choose black. To say she is not computer savvy is a bit of an understatement. And I am the opposite, so I documented everything on Instagram.
Hannah describes #1yearofstitches thusly:
“I am interested in the impact, or mark, that an individual makes on a daily basis. Big or small, our daily activities are often times unquantifiable and intangible. I am approaching this project as a personal map making; the fabric ground represents each day of the year, with the needle and thread representing my actions throughout the day. I will embroider— maybe one stitch, maybe more, (hopefully) every day and photograph the result. The embroidery I create will become a tangible, visual account of the decisions, movements, conversations and sometimes lack there of, that I make each day. I hope to use this project as a means of creating mindfulness and deeper reflection upon the choices we make as a society. ”
Our Rules and Stipulations (adapted from Hannah) were:
- Our fabric ground consists of a swatch of poly-cotton in a 10’’ x 10’’ hoop. The thread we use may change daily and we may adhere additional types of media to our ground with thread.
- We will embroider something each day and I will try to post a photograph of the result each day on @wavesongart.
- It is not required that we make a stitch— some days you definitely do not contribute anything to society.
- We are allowed to remove stitches, because mistakes can sometimes be undone.
- We will exchange hoops on a regular basis.
- More rules and stipulations may be added as the project evolves and lessons are learned.
WHAT WE LEARNED:
- We both had to give ourselves permission to be more flexible and less anal. Some days we just forced ourselves to stitch. Some days, fuck it! Who’s gonna police this but us?
- The hoops became fluid. Meaning we had to drop the notion that the pink one was ‘hers’ and the black one was ‘mine’ because at first we were both afraid of screwing up each other’s hoops. The funny thing is, when the year ended, we decided to keep the one we each began with.
- The pink hoop called out to be filled in totally. The black hoop called out for more negative space or background showing through.
- Lou Anne’s default was to complete a little area with a scene or object. I tried to create little objects and I didn’t enjoy it. Chain stitch, running stitch and back stitch were my go-to’s.
- A year is a long time and SHIT happens. Sometimes you just don’t feel like carrying an embroidery hoop into a hospital waiting room.
- Everyone who saw the hoops was very inspired. But it was less inspiring in some ways for us. I was glad to get back into hand stitching actually though and I realize I abandoned it for my machine a number of years ago. So I am looking forward to more hand-stitching.
- Where does inspiration come from? Ah, the eternal artist’s question and still waiting to be answered!
- We always enjoyed what the other person was doing more than our own work.
- We were very glad to FINISH, to see the year through to the end! If we hadn’t had each other to be accountable to we may not have finished.
- We make our mark on each other. Our friendship is very important.
- I don’t need to do another year long one-a-day project for a l-o-n-g time.