I remember browsing vintage shops when I was young and being drawn to everything floral and anything with embroidered details. Bonus points if the two were combined. I would meander up and down aisles of overstuffed bookshelves, wander through racks of outdated dresses, and admire every little petal on the plethora of dainty porcelain teacups.
Flash forward 15 years and nothing much has changed: I was born and raised to live a secondhand lifestyle. I could spend hours slowly flipping through old books (a habit that may drive Mr. Kitty Cat Stevens to insanity) and purposefully breathing deeper than normal to take in their musty bouquet. I've bonded with little old ladies at the flea market over delicate hand stitched details that are decades old.
Handmade mug by Julia Walther
Sometimes I don't realize how much of my work can be dissected into minutiae and traced back through my life. When I think about the current piece I'm working on— a floral inspired and female empowering hand embroidery for a midwifery office, something just clicks. It's like a huge "duh" moment and it just feels so right. Like I'm exactly where I need to be. Like my entire life has led to this.
OF COURSE I would be sitting on a vintage sofa, drinking endless cups of tea, and stitching a pair of ovaries. Is there even another choice?? There is so much I want to learn, and do, and make happen. I know that having goals is important. But right now, I feel so content just taking everything one tiny stitch at a time, somehow certain that I'll end up where I need to be.
Discovering bookmaking in college was definitely a blessing for me. My love of sewing paper together to create a 3d form only intensified my love of all stitching. I pursued embroidery because of bookmaking. And because of embroidery, I finally decided to learn to use a sewing machine (to alter my vintage dresses, of course).
I never expected all of my passions to become so deeply intertwined. Books, paper, poetry. Florals, needle and thread. If I can one day make a living by the pages I fold and the thread I stitch, then I'm not sure there's much more I could ask for (besides a tiny cottage on the beach and a few more cats).
So, that's the end goal, in a nutshell. And while I'm on the journey to it, I often find myself sipping a cup of tea, with my grandmother's handmade quilt on my lap and a cat asleep beside me, as I realize how happy I am to be living a quiet life— one stitch at a time.