I have been sewing, although my recent sewing has been restorative rather than creative. I love handwork, the process of hand-sewing, of hand embroidery and needlework. It is restorative in that it soothes my soul but also opens a door that allows it to soar freely, as if the act of slowing down, of small repetitive, attentive motions, allow something greater to take flight. I regret that I stopped doing handwork for so long. I rejoice that I have found it again. With time, patience, and practice, my skills will improve.
An older silk banner needed repair. The silk backing, which was shredding, came off. One of the hanging tabs was also in poor condition. It needed to be turned and lined, then reattached to the banner.
But the entire top support of the banner was in sad condition. The new tab is in position but not yet anchored. You can see the shredding of the fabric, the many decades of wear and dirt. It was questionable whether the top of the banner would continue to hold.
A support band was added, anchored in several rows across the top of the banner, stitched through the tabs and canvas underlining. Three rows of stitching were added, although this photo was taken early in the process and you do not see them here.
Then a new silk backing was attached. Many hours were spent making small stitches under magnification. Although many would find this work tedious and boring, I know of few activities that are more peaceful and centering.
I returned the banner, but I really should have spent more time, let it hang for a week or two in my studio before returning it. People missed it, and I was going away. I felt guilty about keeping it while I was gone. But that was my own, self-imposed guilt, my own failing. The weight of the embroidery and the heavy appliques pulls the fragile silk, which is shredding in places, downward. The previous backing, equally old and equally shredded collapsed at the same rate.
Like everything in life, perhaps like life itself, restoration is a series of compromises. I see what needs to be done. The work goes on.
(All photos, except the second were taken under magnification. This is both a godsend, that my older eyes can see, and a curse, in that I see how far from perfect my stitches are. Mastery can only be achieved through years of tiny steps)