A Week of Embroidery: Day 5-6

My eyes opened at the crack of dawn Thursday morning….4:30 a.m.  Meh.  And this after having a hard time falling asleep.  Meh. Meh.  I tried to fall back asleep but by 5:15 a.m. I decided to get up and get on with the day.  By 6:00 a.m. I was in the embroidery workshop working away in silence and reflecting on something Marek said the first night – that every icon will show the spiritual life of the iconographer.

What was I doing there?  I enrolled in an embroidery workshop to learn embroidery.  Yet there I was…learning the same exact stitches that ancient embroiderers used in their work.

(Charlamagne’s Dalmatic)

My mind returned, as it so often does, to my dear Aunt Bobby who I’ve written about so very often.  She taught me to love God. She taught me to love cross stitch and painting.  She taught me how to clean and care for the Church.  She would have loved this embroidery workshop and all that it involved.

Olga was teaching me the stitches necessary to write an icon with silk thread and needle rather than paint and brush.  Really? I was learning, I was studying, to be an iconographer. Really?!?!! Inside something….I dunno…just went there, where ever that there was/is.  I signed up for an embroidery workshop and…perhaps…an iconographer was born.  God will see and may He have mercy.

By Saturday morning I had nearly finished the piece.  When I walked in the workshop, I found Olga an another iconographer embroiderer leaning over my work whispering to one another.  They were commenting ‘how fine the work was’.  Olga took a picture to demonstrate how much work a student can accomplish in a week (approximately 30 hours of embroidery time).  Olga’s compliments were not empty nor frequent.  I felt like I had achieved a lot when she leaned over my shoulder and said, “Mmmm. Very nice.”

15-Curls Single Gold

Remaining work is to couch the last petal and curls. Then I will sew a border in complementary material around the piece and make a small wall hanging from it.  I give away almost all of my work.  Not this piece.  This one is staying home.


5 thoughts on “A Week of Embroidery: Day 5-6

  1. Meg, I was gathering that while listening to her while she wandered the room. Very, very few words to everyone. I heard only one “very beautiful” to the woman who was working on a seraph for a Gospel bookmark. You can imagine how happy I was when she made a comment directly to me while leaning over my shoulder.

  2. She wasn’t kidding – that’s exquisite work. By the way, I’m told that Russians don’t give out compliments unless they *mean* it, so when Olga said your work was good – it was *very* good. I hope you’re planning to put this somewhere in your icon corner!

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