Have you ever tried abstract embroidery art?
Did you like it? Did you feel intimidated by it? If you didn’t try it at all, why?
First, to ask these kind of proactive questions is a first step in identifying potential creative blockages and ultimately being able to find solutions.
Personally, to create abstract art can feel very scary. Because it’s such an intimate form of expression.
You most likely didn’t know that I actually stitch quite a lot of abstract pieces behind the scenes. Because I never share about it.
Truthfully, abstract embroidery allows me to fully lean into the ultimate relaxation that modern hand embroidery has to offer. I get to work with colors I love, stitches that may or may not have any name and most of all it doesn’t have to look like something in particular.
And that’s precisely why I love it.
So, why have I never shared about this before?
Even though there are quite a few tools to guide abstract artists in their creations, I didn’t want to put any pressure of judgement.
Abstract embroidery is a very personal form of expression. You may love the look or you may hate it. But it doesn’t really matter as much as the enjoyment of the process does (and I didn’t want anything to disturb that).
This is why I have kept it to myself.
It has been my way of creating “off pressure” and for “no real purpose other than the enjoyment and relaxation of creating with my hands”.
The latter is a very important point, which we often emphasise in our courses.
Because I find that we, in today’s society, live in an idea of necessity to optimise time and productivity.
Naturally, with a one year old at home, Charles and I have been forced to optimise our time at a whole new level than before (which unfortunately has lead to less sharing on social media – sorry!).
But despite limited time, the notion that everything you do has to have a utility purpose puts enormous pressure and stress. Especially if you are a creative soul.
Being a new mum, I have thought quite a lot about this almost intuitive feeling of “never being enough”, which ironically has a very contradicting effect of making me “do less”.
If you’re a mum too, you probably know exactly what I talk about. And for you (and me), I know that the “not doing” part when we simply are present with our children are actually the most golden times.
It’s not how many planned activities or thoughtful developmental games that will have the most impact – it’s your presence and that is enough in itself.
And the same applies to art.
“Abstract embroidery art – a way to be enough without knowing where it ends”.
To embroider abstract invites for improvisation and experimentation.
In fact, abstract art in general is often referred to as forms and colors that are there to speak for themselves.
The aesthetic argument may be: “The beauty of the form alone”.
Abstract art also draws on abstractions, reduction and simplification. Kadinsky, who is mostly considered to be one of the first people to draw abstractly, often talked about abstract art as a way to represent the bare minimum needed to convey a message.
The message of your piece is generally based on 4 things (individually or combined):
- An idea
- An emotion
- An image or thing in the world
In other words, how can you visually represent for example your emotion in an as simple way as possible?
Simple may sound simple… and yet it can be incredibly difficult to reduce the clutter. Think about the last time you wrote something and you had to go over it again and take off excess words.
I may speak for myself, but to condense a text takes me a lot longer than just write freely from the heart.
So, how does this link to the idea of abstract embroidery art as being enough without knowing where it ends?
Of course you can have a purpose of creating an embroidered art piece to be hung on your wall. But you don’t know how the end will look like when you first start out.
As a result: To just start is enough in itself. You have made something. What a liberating feeling!
If you choose to just add one stitch, well that may be a very minimalistic abstract piece – but who cares?
Abstract art invites for conversation both for the creator and the viewer.
A million people will most likely perceive and feel a piece in equally many different ways. And if you choose to share your progress, you instantly invite for that conversation. Then it’s up to you whether you have the emotional energy to do so or not.
I wrote this piece with the intention to invite you to the conversation and idea of creating something for the pure joy of creating it.
To eliminate the pressure of it having to look a certain way and rather to concentrate on the quality time you get to spend creating it.
However, despite encouragement and some reflections of my abstract embroidery practise, I know how overwhelming it can feel to begin.
Over the past couple of months since we released our “watercolor embroidery masterclass“ and the “Free workshop “introduction to watercolor embroidery“, emails have been trickling in…
At first I thought it was a one off coincidence, until more began to come.
The messages were requests to continue the exploration of watercolor embroidery. But this time with an abstract touch.
Where to start? How to start? And how to proceed?
To follow a pre-designed pattern eases the pressure of “what to do now”. Because you lean back and follow the lines that are already lined out for you.
And this is of course incredibly relaxing in itself.
But to sometimes allow yourself that time of “nothingness” in the sense of working on nothing in particular – will bring a new level of creative discovery and expression.
To stitch a pattern is perfect when you don’t want to think too much and travel away to whatever location that you’re stitching (if you work on one of our patterns will say).
But to dip into your feelings and thoughts from time to time and to try your hand at abstract art is completely different experience.
To help you eliminate your last inner critics, I’ve created an introductory beginner’s workshop to abstract embroidery art.
The workshop is designed to bring concrete tools to an otherwise empty playfield.
With basic knowledge of composition and complementary colors, you will add to your “artistic intuition”. Suddenly you will just feel why something “works” and something else doesn’t. Or why you feel like something is missing (or not).
Thank you so much for reading!