Time passers

I have a drawer in my plan chest containing my sewing work. I am not always at ease with this. Not for the fact that it contains tapestries, or that they are still very much in progress and unfinished, but for the fact that I’m not sure why I’m doing them. One is of a book cover, the other is of a section of an old family photograph. I convince myself that they are experiments. But are they really that? I see things and ‘borrow’ them magpie-like, stowing them away in my mind until I can try them out. For the moment such ‘tryings’ are sewn. There are other motives but they are harder to clarify. I came to sewing for so many reasons, one of which is the stillness thing. And the emptying of my head thing. I need to do both these things. I often struggle with the end result. Is that all there is? I ask. It’s not about decoration or even skill but some kind of continuum, a doing, a simple process of using my hands and doing. Time passers. They help pass the time and my mind is at its most creative when I do them. What is that about? I want to see them through, those two pieces and the several text pieces that lie, in see-through bags, next to them. One cannot judge the success or otherwise of a project unless one does. Do they need to be a success? This conversation raises the issue of what to do with the sunflower pieces. They were props ostensibly. What are they now, now that the project is over? What shall I do with them? Complete them, then frame and hang them or make them into cushion covers? What does that make them? I have no prowess in tapestry. I make no claims for my skill. And I never wanted to create stuff – that was another ambition behind the performance piece – to leave no trace, no stuff. I’m blurting.

A mild morning, almost still. I could hear the waves though. A few bodies, like me, wandering.

I’m tired. My body aches a little. Coffee then work. Wake up.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.