Hummingbird (2007), Thread on paper, 10 x 8 inches
Hummingbird, Ruby throated (2007), Thread on paper, 10 x 8 inches
Bird (2006), Thread on paper, 9¾ x 8 inches
I recently began a daily ritual of stitching as a way to enter my studio and begin work for the day. I have been sewing a series of birds, mostly mythical birds (related--and not--to the phoenix, quetzalcoatl, sankofa, thunderbird...i’m sure there are more...) that have become the palettes for my other stitched pieces (Monuments) as my hand learns about gestures, movements, colors, and the meanings and language of different stitch lengths. The daily sewing is like a prayer which sometimes happens quite quickly (well, for sewing...1-2 hours) or can take much, much longer (like most of the day).
It’s amazing how the sketches, the prayers, these birds become the work itself—the sketches have a kind of opening and vulnerability to them—they seem to speak so easily about what it is that I’m working towards, their language flows without being self-conscious. So they are not only reference points for larger work, but I have become very interested in the visual language of the birds themselves and the stories they tell. The writer Ana Lara recently asked me if I consider the stitches to be poems—they are in many ways, certainly a language I am trying to learn, trying to speak, sometimes broken, sometimes fluent, all the while working to understand the thread and its ever-changing form and relationship to land and the body and the story.
And so I find myself in