In December, I took a break from album covers while making my mom her Christmas present. One of her favorite artists is Henry Darger (whom she became rather obsessed with after watching the amazing documentary “In the Realms of the Unreal” – which I highly recommend).
This was a much larger, more intricate pattern than I am used to working with. Add in the pressure to finish the project before I returned from my holiday vacation, and I felt like I never wanted to cross-stitch again… However, I’m back to contentedly stitching away. This month’s project seems like a breeze in comparison, and is my first jazz/fusion cover, which is exciting.
One thing I thought about a lot while working on the Darger project was the idea of individual style. He has such as distinct artistic style – once you know it, his works are instantly recognizable. I know from talking to other artists that this takes an incredible amount of work and practice to develop. I myself struggle with the fact that I don’t really have a personal style as a bassist – I’m much happier being a “character actor” who adapts to the given setting and fellow musicians. Furthermore, I’ve had to accept that I’ll never have the time or inclination to develop a highly distinctive style as a visual artist. This made me realize how much I love my LP Stitch concept, because it allows me to provide my personalized interpretation to existing iconography. It is a kind of “hack” to higher-level creativity that still leaves me time to practice music, writing, yoga, and other forms of design.
Because of this, one of my goals for 2016 is to make cross-stitch a regular practice. These monthly posts will help me to stay motivated and focused. Unlike some of my other practices, I need to make sure I don’t work too obsessively – I need to complete my to-do list before I start stitching and I limit myself to a couple hundred stitches per day. While I hope to eventually create some sort of income-generating activities from cross-stitching, right now I am content to keep it as a relaxing, expressive hobby.
Bonus: I’m to the point where I don’t make large-scale projects for anyone but my mother. She’s the only person who consistently puts in the same amount of work on projects for me. As an example, while I was visiting for Christmas, she made this for me as part of my belated birthday celebration:
I am – to put it mildly – obsessed with birthday cake flavored foodstuffs. This cake had confetti birthday cake, birthday cake ice-cream (which is dangerously prevalent in the South), cream cheese frosting, birthday cake Oreos (which I believe should be a controlled substance), and extra sprinkles (the true essence of birthday cake flavors). In addition to being delicious, I realized it coincidently matched the color scheme of my Darger project. Point being, my mother and I have developed a mutually-beneficial relationship built around making pretty things for each other.