Thursday, July 25, 2013

Unfolding Story

dancing red stick figure with spiral head
Dance   -  9" x 7" © 2013 Linda A. Miller
I've said before that every craftsman
Searches for what's not there
to practice his craft.

A builder looks for the rotten hole
Where the roof caved in. A water-carrier
picks the empty pot. A carpenter
stops at the house with no door.

Workers rush toward some hint
Of emptiness, which they then
Start to fill. Their hope, though,
Is for emptiness, so don't think
You must avoid it. It contains
What you need!

- Rumi, excerpt from "Craftsmanship and Emptiness" 

Recently I participated in a Creativity Lab at my meditation center.  These monthly workshops are an exploration of creative process in meditative spaces.  Storytelling was this month's offering using rice as the landscape to which random objects were added.  This contemplative process is somewhat similar to the sand play used in some forms of therapy.  It was amazing to see the stories unfolding with very little coaxing, as we worked together in small groups.  Storytelling, in some form, seems to be an innate part of who we are as humans.  The means to how we share and connect.  What are your thoughts? 

Though I tend to work abstractly, there is still a story to be found in each piece created.  I had not intended for a figure to emerge out of "Dance".   I approached the work with the quilt and shrink technique using one of my hand dyes. My quilting stitches were intuitively sewn around the dye shapes.  Following the texture patterns, foil, oil sticks, and hand embroidery were added.  As the quilt developed, there was a figure form that appeared to be waiting for attention.   I chose to accent her in simple lines with hand couched cotton yarn, allowing the spiral foiling to be the head.  The movement of shapes, colors and line danced together, hence the title.  Through pattern and texture the quilt creates its own is up to me to pay attention to what is being said.  This is often more a visual story than a verbal one.  Does storytelling play a part in your work?

Linking to Off the Wall Fridays.


  1. I often say that a piece 'tells me how it wants to be created' -- even when I start out with an idea, the piece evolves and expresses that idea in the way in which it's spirit intends...and in my faith-view, that spirit is entheos or 'Emmanuel' -- God With(in) Us.

    May your spirit continue to dance! :-)

    1. Lovely words, Margaret. Thanks!

  2. I like how you listen to what the fabric and your creative spirit have to say. Sometimes our quilts need and have to be made. We just happen to be lucky enough to be the human hand that brings it to life:-)

  3. Anonymous26.7.13

    Love the piece and your text...well said.

  4. I think the most special artworks are the ones that evolve and get a life of their own. They exude spirituality.

    1. I agree, Regina, they are special.

  5. I love your pieces and I agree about storytelling. For the first time in my life I really feel like my artwork is a real expression of my life - a story of me - and it's amazing at what develops when you let go and let things happen on their own. :)

    1. Thanks, Valerie, and congratulations on finding your own story!

  6. I love it when an image emerges from the fabric. You have made a very special piece with a lot of movement. Wonderful!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Norma!

  7. Lovely piece. Your comment about rice as a way to develop stories got me to thinking that I use my blog to tell stories. They seem to appear within the format, like your figure was in the dyed fabric.
    best, nadia

  8. I love how you were able to coax the figure out of the fabric, with your help she has emerged and is beautiful.


I welcome your comments!


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