The Plymouth Tapestry: Stitching 400 years

Many people are familiar with the Bayeux Tapestry, which tells the story of the Norman Conquest and the Battle of Hastings through an embroidered cloth almost 230 M  Long.

Learn more in this short film: The Bayeux Tapestry – Seven Ages of Britain from BBC One

This spectacular piece of work inspired a group of embroiderers and historians in Plymouth, Massachusetts who were looking for a project to celebrate the 400th anniversary of their town.

The project was a huge undertaking that involved many stitchers and designers. Elizabeth Creeden designed the drawings and did sample stitches and colour selections for each of the panels.  Early in the process, it was decided that this would be a communal project.  There were workshops that allowed interested community members to learn stitches and take part in the project.  Panels were also taken to other events to provide more opportunities for volunteers to participate.

The Plymouth Tapestry was conceived as a multi-year project, which will be completed in late 2121.  It will include 20 -6 ft panels. The completed tapestry will tell the story of the pilgrims, the Wampanoag people and the general history of the area.  One of the challenges is very different records and stories of history.

We realize we are telling two different stories and two very different kinds of traditions and ways of passing on knowledge. With the English side, it’s all about written records and documentation….. It’s wonderful to have an Aquinnah Wampanoag tribal member sitting at the table with us, and she said, “You know our history isn’t the same. We don’t look at it in the same way. We have an oral history that’s gone on for thousands of years; we share stories of our people.

Quote from The Plymouth Tapestry, by Cheryl Christian in Needle Arts (Dec. 2018, pp 18-24)

This work will tell the long history of Plymouth and leaving a lasting legacy that will be remembered as is its original inspiration,
the Bayeux Tapestry.

Read more about the Plymouth Tapestry and its stories in The Plymouth Tapestry or visit the Pilgram Hall Museum website.

Magna Carta as a stitching collaboration

This morning, I received my weekly Inspirations: All Stitched Up newsletter  in my mailbox.  (Issue 222, FEB 21, 2020).  Reading this is always a welcome way to start my day with creative ideas.  If you do – or admire – hand work, you can sign-up for this beautiful newsletter at Inspirations Studios.  If you are so inclined, you can also catch up on the spectacular work in past issues.  Be warned:  that is a exercise almost guaranteed to take you off on a journey of exploration that might well steal hours from your day.  Happily, it is oh, so worth it.

An article that really connected with me this morning was the
story The Magna Carta Reimagined by Nancy Williams.

Ms. Williams described a large piece currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Sydney, Australia.  It is a gigantic work of the Magna Carta: An Embroidery created by British artist Cornelia Parker for the 800th Anniversary celebration of the signing of the document in 1215.  In honour of this show, the MCA has posted a conversation with Cornelia Parker and MCA Chief Curator, Rachal Kent.   Ms. Parker describes the

For my piece Magna Carta (An Embroidery) (2015), I took an image of the Wikipedia entry of the Magna Carta on its 800th birthday and had it printed onto fabric. The fabric was 15 metres long by 1.5 metres wide – and was cut into around 50 strips so that all the words were embroidered by many contributors. That’s what I like about Wikipedia; it’s made by hundreds of
people imparting their little bit of knowledge, rather than the definition being written by one authority figure. I liked the idea of multiple authors embroidering the definition of the Magna Carta, from prisoners to judiciary to
lords to MPs to well-known personalities and infamous whistle blowers, like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, who both embroidered for me.

(read more of Cornelia Parker in conversation with Rachel Kent )

This short video gives you some additional insight into the planning, motivation and process of creating a piece of this scope.

If the video doesn’t display, try this link Magna Carta (an Embroidery) on daily motion 

I find this project really exciting in its success at bringing many different people together on one creative expression.  It is especially moving in its success to allow space and encourage individual touches and variations.  It incorporates accidents, stains, errors and variety. Participating embroiderers range from beginners to established professionals and educators and the range of skill is reflected and embraced in the work.

I love that this piece also reflects changes that have taken recording and reporting from a limited few people of means and inherited privilege to a project such as this that reflects people of a wide range of experiences and backgrounds.

Have you taken part in a collaborative work? What was the result?  Did the experience impact your process or style?   Share your experiences, or your thoughts on Magna Carta: An Embroidery in the comments.

My Father’s Daughter

Missing you on your birthdayDad was born on February 5 so this day is always an emotional one for me.  Dad loved his birthday, which usually turned into a birthday week.  He saved all his birthday cards and every year around mid January, he would start to display them around the house, adding more from the collection each day and looking forward to new greetings.  There were always plenty of those; he was much loved. He always said we didn’t need to get him a new one each year but, of course, nobody  listened.  He would have been disappointed if we had.  He most cherished cards with a thoughtful note and he relished revisiting old wishes.  On the other hand, he was amused by cards being reused with a new message added – because he appreciated the practical approach.

As my siblings and I grew, we moved away for school or work and were separated by distance.  But those of us who were near, always gathered for Dad’s birthday supper and cake.  If any of us couldn’t make it home, we always checked in by phone and he anticipated the calls for days.  He loved to chat and laugh with family members.   In fact, he typically had multiple cakes and meals shared with various friends and extended family.

I miss Dad every day but on his birthday, his loss is especially strong.    We’ll toast his name and light a birthday candle for him today.

I was very close to my father, and by all accounts, am very much like him.  I made this digital scrapbook page to capture some of the similarities.

My Fathers Daughter layout
My Father’s Daughter is a digital layout created with products from scrapgirls.com

Do you have a family member who is very like you – or very different?  Challenge yourself today to write a story or do a layout to compare your personalities.  You’ll be glad to have the reminder and it will mean a lot to your children or grandchildren as it might help them understand why you (or they) act or look as they do.

Welcome to [the new] Keep The Stories

WELCOME

Welcome to my new – or more accurately new again – blog where I plan to challenge you to keep and share your stories while simplifying life by reducing the amount of stuff.

I originally started this blog a few years ago and was generating content regularly for almost two years when other projects took priority and this was put on the back burner. I continued to integrate the core ideas of Keep the Stories with other projects, always with the thought of turning this idea into a more vibrant entity.  I recently decided that it was time to build on this foundation and get back to this idea that has continued to be a passion.

It is time to take action.

To begin, I have cleared the previous content.   Some of the posts are no longer relevant to my goals for this site.   Others will be archived or used in a different context.  Still others will be revisited, revived and republished with new content.

I’m looking forward to new adventures and learning and I hope you will join me on the journey.

 

Back with new stories

It has been awhile (again). I have been busy with various projects and learning and not keeping up with this blog. Once more caught up in finding a unique or particularly creative and inspirational direction.  perhaps a losing battle and most definitely a recipe for writer`s block.  so, leaving that goal behind to see what happens and what direction evolves –  and whether anyone cares.

Stay tuned.  You know, assuming you got tuned in the first place.

Plans

Reusing and organizing

Organizing and Reclaiming

Well, despite my best intentions, another long delay between posts here.  I’ve not been very successful in my resolve to stop waiting for a perfect topic or direction – or something with some jaw-dropping insight.

Today, back to the my original goal of getting rid of some stuff.  I have decided it is time to par down on my t-shirt collection, particularly since I rarely wear t-shirts except when I am doing some work in the workshop or around the house.  This has not stopped me from collecting and saving enough of them to overflow the drawers and to fill too large containers in my off-season attic storage.  Needless to say, I’m not going to address that all in one sitting  This weekend, I plan to switch the winter and summer clothes and that is always a good time to pare down and regroup.  In prep for that effort, I thought this would be time to tackle the 3-drawers that are stuffed to overflowing in the guest room.

before_drawer1overfilled drawers

One of the reasons that I keep holding on to the accumulated T-Shirts is that most were collected at an event or for an occasion. Most stand as testament to some affiliation or achievement.  As such, it can be hard to part with them and when I have thought of donating them, I think that they wouldn’t really have meaning for anyone not connected to the same event.  As I was sorting through, however, I realized that some still held strong positive memories but many, not so much.  I dedicated an hour to these three drawers, set an alarm, and determined to work quickly (not my forte) and get a start on the reduction.

Here are the outcomes:

Repurposed materials

I decided to cut the logos/images off the T-Shirts that were valuable memories but no longer worn.  I’ll collect them up and make something of them in the future.  Perhaps a quilt or wall hanging.  In the meantime, I drastically reduce the space required AND still have the reminder of the associated event.  I cut the rest of the shirts into strips for rags for the workshop and garden shed, where they will be put to good use.  An unexpected bonus of this approach is that some of the well worn shirts would not last

much longer and this way the most important part of the story is preserved.  I turned this stack of shirts…

before_TShirts1

 

…. to this collection of images and pile of rags.

after_material-rags

 

Improved Organization

I reduced the number of shirts in the drawers dramatically, leaving only ones that I continue to wear when I exercise or do work around the house or garden.

after_tshirtdrawer1

Donations

I put clothes that no longer fit or suit, as well as a number of T-shirts that I realized didn’t really have an emotional attachment but are still in good shape – in a bag to donate  While I was at it, I collected some items already set aside for that purpose and bagged those up too.

Result – 1 1/2 garbage bags of clothes and a bag of bed clothes taken out to the car to drop at Value Village on my next trip to the city.

Time well spent

In just over an hour, I cleared some space in the drawers for the inevitable seasonal clothing change later in the week.   Maybe I’ll put some unused T-Shirts back in rotation – or I might even take the plunge and cut some up or donate them rather than just putting them back in storage.

What do you do with all those T-Shirts from runs, school events or promotional activities?  Do you wear them?  Use them for night shirts? Donate them?  Discard them?  Share any suggestions in the comments.

Start a photo project

In recent years, I have tried to have an annual photo project.  In 2009, I successfully completed a 365 day project with a picture a year, a layout a week.   I finished the layouts and published the book in early 2010.  It was rewarding to complete and it is great to look at all the day-to-day moments.  In the years since, I have done weekly collections in a digital format.

ALbum cover for 2009 365
Album cover for 2009 365

I’m planning to do a similar project this year but am still playing with themes or a unique hook.  I want to incorporate my keep-the-stories efforts but still deciding how.  I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Photos are a great way to capture everyday moments.  The routines of your day can be interesting or entertaining in years ahead and I am always amazed at how often I look at photos and think, “Oh, I’d forgotten that I used to do that all the time.”  If you have children, they will look back at the images and marvel at their daily activities.  OK, it might take them awhile to appreciate it but eventually, they’re sure to get there.  A year-long photo project can take as little or as much time as you want and can be focused or random.  The details are up to you.

There are plenty of places to find inspiration for a photo project – 365 days – 52 weeks – 12 months – 4 seasons – or a particular person or object through the year.  Many of related sites have challenges or opportunity for sharing.  Of course, you can start any time of the year -it doesn’t have to begin on New Year’s Day, although that is a favorite launch date for many people – it might even be a resolution – but it is not the only option.  You might prefer to start on a birthday or anniversary, a milestone change or any day when you are expired.

Don’t worry about having a fancy camera or lots of equipment. If you don’t have a DSLR, use a point and shoot or the camera on your phone.  Just get out and take pictures.

If you need inspiration for your own photo project, you might like:

digital-photography-school.com/start-a-personal-photography-project

http://captureyour365.com/

http://content.photojojo.com/tutorials/project-365-take-a-photo-a-day/

Do you plan a 2018 photo project?  What will your project be?  Do you expect to keep the fame form all year or will you change it, for example, making each month slightly different?

Telling your story with social media

Whether you have business or personal stories to share, the best time to reach your audience is when they are active and using the tools.  So many things are posted every hour that a post will quickly get lost in a flood of messages and be missed if people are not active for a long period of time.  Consequently, timing is an important element of social media strategy.

It used to be said that the three most important things in business are Location – Location – Location.  That is not true in the global world of social media and these days it might be said that the most important things are Timing – Timing – Timing.  Below is an interesting graphic with guidelines about when to post in various social media to get the greatest level of engagement.  The source is on the bottom of the graphic.

Share your stories when you can most effectively meet your intended audience.  Of course, these times just offer guidelines and don’t account for different time zones.  You might have to post your message to reach several time zones.  Also, it would make sense to try to asses the validity with your target audience, which might have different usage patterns than the average.

More tomorrow – probably between 1 and 4 pm AST.

 

What do you think of the times indicated?  I was surprised that Twitter traffic fades so early in the afternoon – I would have expected it to be busy late afternoon and early evening.  I seem to get lots of tweets at that time of day.

Do you have favorite times that you have found especially effective for your personal or business messages?  What tips do you have about timing of your social media postings?