with Karen Turner
In a Daily Sewing Project, Karen Turner Stitches a Visual Diary in Vividly Textured Designs
From newspaper paintings and watercolor scenes to narrative photographs and wildly handled mugs, daily projects have continually grabbed our attention for their ritualistic nature, dedication, and ability to strengthen creative stamina. East Yorkshire-based artist Karen Turner has spent the last year in the midst of her own routine involving a long strip of vintage fabric and colorful hand-sewn motifs.
Turner began what’s become her Intuitive Daily Stitching project back in January 2022 when she was hoping to bring more mindfulness into her everyday. The idea was to fill a few inches on a simple, angular grid with whatever motif came to mind, creating a textured patchwork that was also “a visual representation of time passing,” she says. “The older I get, the faster time seems to pass, and I wanted to connect with this sense of time rushing by and consciously to notice a few minutes every day.”
For the 2022 iteration, Turner worked on a single sheet of metis, a cotton-linen blend, stitching undulating stripes, dense crisscrossed lines, and radial designs. Now complete, the piece stretches a staggering 95 inches, highlighting the changes in the artist’s emotions, impulses, and aesthetic sensibilities as the months passed.
In this year’s edition, Turner shifted to a more book-like structure with several pages and a cover to emphasize the diaristic nature of the project. She explains:
I sometimes think stitching is more like writing than drawing, in that you can often identify a stitcher’s work in the same way that you would recognise their handwriting on an envelope. In that way, the stitch journal functions a bit like a diary, though it records more abstract thoughts and feelings rather than events. I think of the cloth and the stitches as witness to this part of my life and holders of a fragment of time.
For those interested in starting their own daily stitching journal, Turner sells her monthly templates and offers an online course on the practice. You can find more about the project on her site and follow updates on Instagram.
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