This afternoon I have been piecing – that is, cutting out different shaped pieces of fabric and sewing them together, which I know puzzles many bystanders around those of us who make ‘patchwork’ things including quilts. Fabric is just a raw material to some textile artists, and thus no different from a skein of wool, a tube of oil paint, a block of wood or stone, all to be worked by people with appropriate skills. I’ve always loved sewing, and love piecing as a technique for surface design, which produces contemporary patchwork that despite appearances does in fact have connection with the traditional geometric patterned designs that most people think of as ‘patchwork’. Patchwork, traditional and contemporary, is often backed with a layer or two of fabric and quilted by hand or machine to hold it all together in a completed object, usually bedding or clothing for warmth.
This pictured segment continues some piecing I began a couple of weeks ago, before undergoing surgery for a shoulder prosthesis. My doc did say use the hand as much as possible, and this activity is well within the restrictions – of holding nothing heavier than a cup of tea, and not to try to raise the arm above shoulder level – well just now I can’t get it anywhere near the shoulder so there’s no danger there. All the newly constructed left arm has to do is some gentle holding of small pieces of fabric as the machine slowly sews, and my other (good) arm whips out the pins, flying back and forth from the pin cushion as the machine gradually sews around the curved edge. It’s all rather like setting in a sleeve. Even as I was doing this today, a brainwave came for another piece in this theme, inspired by what I read recently about the structure of the sandstone karst formations in the The Bungle Bungles. So as soon as I finish putting all these pieces together, I’ll start another to incorporate my new idea. However, right now its time for a change of activity to include arm swinging and shoulder shrugging followed by a cup of tea.