Cultural Fusions Sue’s story

I have been completely immersed in the research of my ancestors which has taken me far longer than I ever anticipated. I wonder if I would have started this if i had known the extent of the work? Maybe as I have uncovered some wonderful characters and stories along the way. Last night, I was thinking about how I may bring this together to create samples of… I know not what yet when I remembered a piece of work I had started nearly 4 years ago. I had completely forgotten it and am staggered at that as the piece was such a significant part of my own healing at that time.

I had had a particularly traumatic time in June 2011 and found that the one thing that I could count on to help still my mind was embroidery. I decided to work on small samples using white fabric and white embroidery thread. I usually work with vibrant colours and I thought the challenge of such a stark piece would help to take me to a new place, where I could concentrate on the rhythm of stitching rather than the notion of creating a finished piece. I also wanted to build my trust and learn how to be nurtured by Women. I started by asking women those I knew and also strangers to donate white fabric to me to work on. I wanted to be aware whilst working that women were the foundation for my healing, and the donated fabric reminded me of their generosity in wanting to support me. I couldn’t shy away from them in fear they may hurt me, they were with me constantly. I also decided that each piece would form a meditation for me on some aspect of my life that had passed. I would explore that period in my mind whilst stitching, the natural rhythm of my work would form the basis of my meditation. I began psychotherapy a few weeks in to this  project and I found that my work in the therapy room was supported by my stitching. Often the pain relived in the therapy sessions was dealt with and released through my embroidery. My stitches became as important as my therapy. In January 2014 I packed my work away as I began working with a new therapist and I wanted to begin a new method of working through the last part of my therapy. Thus the piece was forgotten until last night. I finished my therapy in September 2014 and through the grueling hard work of those many months work I came to know the person I recognised in my heart. I looked at the piece as being a quilt I would’ve liked to be wrapped in as a child, the words embroidered would help me navigate my life offering hope, comfort and support through all the challenges. In it’s unfinished state it is around one meter square.

I feel the piece even though not finished, packed away and forgotten is actually an important part of the research I am doing now. It informs me of where I have come from, and even though it is incomplete it was an integral part of my becoming whole.

Below are images I took today of the various pieces sewn together.

don't give up hope

don’t give up hope

Below I stitched the glove I wore for my first marriage.

through the loneliness a daughter will come

through the loneliness a daughter will come

two men will break your heart, but one man will love you for the rest of your life

two men will break your heart, but one man will love you for the rest of your life

Since being a small child I have always felt nourished and healed by being near trees. I don’t understand why but if I am troubled I always find myself sat beneath the largest tree I can find.

the trees will nourish you

the trees will nourish you

the sad, lonely, lost child will learn to trust again

the sad, lonely, lost child will learn to trust again

Below some pieces I added patchwork or simply added hundreds of french knots.

 

 

 

bullion knots

bullion knots

 

there is light at the end of the tunnel and that shining light is me

there is light at the end of the tunnel and that shining light is me

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