Depression, anxiety and art

Many people seem to think that anxiety, depression and art go together as an artist and that aids the creative process. For me, that is not the case. My mind comes to a grinding halt! As a life long sufferer of depression and anxiety, I can now feel when a period like that is coming along and usually I can mange to side swerve the worse of it by doing very routine things by just plodding along. Not this time!  It has taken almost 8 months to get pass this stage and it is still a struggle but one that is getting better. Unfortunately, I am not yet back to painting.  For the last 2 weeks my body has also decided to rebel against me as I battle a vicious allergic reaction which has left me with nasty welts all over my body and clothing being my enemy. As we are also going through a heatwave at the moment,  so any movement causes sweating which in turns makes the itching even worse. So plenty of cool soothing baths, showers and just keeping still has been the order of the day. Today temperature is meant to top 105F/40c. the joys of living in central Texas!

However, I have finally been making process with the online embroidery course I decided to take in December. It took me 6 months to get the first stage complete!  I have almost finished the 2nd part in less than a month so signs of progress only stopped this week by incessant itching.

Below are some of  the work I have done on this.  Part one  exploring stem stitch , chain stitch and fern stitch beginning with mark making exercises.

Part 2 has been been exploring line though using cut, torn and folding paper.

Finally line in paint through mono printing which amazingly I have never tried before. Not sure I have achieved this so well but I enjoyed the playfulness of this method of working and can see using this again.

Unfortunately I think this is where I acquired up my current allergic reaction as I pick up some plant matter and I suspect I touched some poison ivy in the process, stupid me!

Next step is explore the composite stitches of whipped stem stitch, Pekinese stitch and raised chain band. I have completed the samples so they should come along quite quickly but we have a short stay in Mexico City to enjoy before then. Really looking forward to the Frida Kahlo Museum and obviously I will be looking at any needlework/textile work I get my greedy eyes on.

Painting is also on my agenda but not a priority as it will come along when it is needed but it has not been abandoned. It will always be part of my life in some form or another.

I have done one drawing in the past month or so. I got a sheet of A1 cartridge paper and painted it with acrylic  gesso with no real idea of what I was going to do with it, other than I didn’t want it to be the tight smaller drawings I was doing last year as I wanted to get rid of the inhibitions to drawing that I have developed. For the one drawing it worked out quite well and I planned to do more ( I already have several prepared with gesso) but then the embroidery came along. As I have about 500 or more sheets (send to me by mistake by the supplier and they let me keep them several years ago, nice  🙂 ) , it is definitely something to explore in the coming months.

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Matchbox Museum entry

So I reworked my matchbox entry and returned to my bead embroidery skills.

I did have an idea of making a box of paper dolls to represent my kids. I had made some beaded dolls a few years back based on some old photos of them. On working with a few ways of doing this, I knew this was non starter as the matchbox was too small for such an elaborate idea.  I must I was struggling to get an idea (2/20/2015) and time was running out as I needed to get it in the post by today (2/23/2015) if it was to get to London on time.

Out of interest, I typed in Matchbox art into Google search and was amazed at the number of hits I got. I hadn’t realised it was such a big movement.  It didn’t really inspire me though, as working so small seemed like an impossible task.

My studio is jumble of stuff that I have collected over the years but my biggest collection is from the time I did exclusively bead embroidery. I also have folders with samples of things I have done over the years, like embroidery stitches and making felt. So I decided to rummage through those folders and hope inspiration would strike. I came across a scrap of felting I had made with wool roving, a piece from a silk shirt which had been my husbands, some applique butterflies and some fabric daisies from a hobby store. I had machine felted them altogether and then just tucked it away in case I could use it some day. The butterfly and the daisy tied in with the previous painting so I thought I could work with that.  The following is the result. I just let my hand and needle just roam across the fabric and it grew much like the subject.

The little box beside the finished piece is the mock box I had made, so you can see it pretty small – 35mm X 47mm X 17mm however with the added beads and felt, that has added a few more mm, so I am not sure if that will acceptable. Fingers crossed.

Originally I was going to have the cover slide as it would if it was still a matchbox . As I worked though I though it would work better if was like little stage, like the one you made as a child and it would also act as a picture frame for the internal image.  So you could just view it as the butterfly or as the little scene, which ever took your fancy.

The material used were glass beads size 15, flower sequins, a fabric flower, white oblong beads for the daisy, flower beads and the 2 charms. The background felt included the main daisy and butterfly.

I really enjoyed making this piece although working with size 15 beads can be quite a strain on the eyes!