Friday, April 11, 2014

The Comfort Of Cloth

Long Long Way From Home
I've been making journals these past couple of weeks. Lots of them. This is the cover of a 9" by 12" fabric journal I've made for myself and this is the back of it. 
The past few weeks have been emotionally rough and I found that I simply didn't have the energy to paint. Painting for me is a high energy process. I have to be fully engaged and firing on all cylinders in order to create with paint and I just didn't have it in me. I tried, stopped and started. It was not going to happen. 

All I really wanted to do was to curl up in my big pink quilt and snuggle into the safety and security of the soft fabric, shut out the world. And so all of the emotion that had been held up inside was gently smoothed away between the folds. The familiarity of cloth provided a soft place for my spirit to land. 

When I am feeling most vulnerable are often the times when I need to create, when that need becomes vital to my survival and while I couldn't muster the energy I need to paint, I found that I could engage myself with cloth. Working with cloth does not demand the same kind of energy from me that painting does. It is a slower process. There is a natural ebb and flow that I can move through in order to create with fabric and that ebb and flow matched my emotional highs and lows.

I've always loved working with cloth as much as I love to work with papers and paints and that love is what inspired me to create journals so many years ago since I can bring everything I love to work with to them. 

I love everything about cloth. The softness and textures, the colors and the prints, the gentle purr of the sewing machine right down to hand sewing final details. I love that I can move from one layer to the next without having to wait for something to dry. It's a gentle process and time loses it's hard edges and opens it up, allowing me to settle in, relax, let the stress and emotion fall away. I need that right now. I need a soft place to fall.

These are some of the journals I will be finishing in the coming days; adding their final embellishments, the paper and that will eventually make their way to my Etsy shop soon. 

I've changed the way I constructed some of these journals and started using a cloth hinge which allows the pages to lay more flat when the journal is open and alleviate stress on where the pages would normally be folded. The cloth hinges also provide a sturdier binding. It is a process I am experimenting with and refining. 
5" by 5" HuG style
6" by 6" HuG style
4.5" by 4.5" re-purposed jean pocket journal,
pocket on the back too.
This little quilted journal will grow up to be 'visual dialogue No. 3'
At least that is what I am thinking of at the moment.
And last but not least there is this one, still under construction.
The cover.
The back.
That's all I got for now. I'm working my way towards something I can call normal and finding comfort in cloth.
Thanks to everyone for your kindness and gentle support. It means more than I'll ever be able to fully express, just know you are appreciated.


  1. These are lovely. I have not worked with fabric for a while now as I have been concentrating on my painting. Your words have made me want to get out my sewing machine again.

  2. I hope that you are ok!! I have been thinking about you and sent you a message on FaceBook. If you are like me, you probably don't go on very often. Just saying hi, and that I'm thinking about you. I do love these journals that you have created...and, your article this month in awesome.

  3. Wonderful journals Susie. I´m glad you´re able to create while having a hard time. I have those hard times often and I can´t create at all. Sending hugs