A Week of Embroidery: Reflections

In an earlier blog entry, I wrote about learning the stitches necessary to write an icon with thread rather than paint.  That notion blind sided me.  I had signed up for an embroidery workshop and ended up learning iconography.  It did not occur to me that was what I was doing.  I consider an iconographer to be a very spiritual and prayerful person…everything I am not.  In a conversation with Marek, I shared that thought.  His response?  “That’s right.”

Though this week was a workshop it was also a spiritual retreat…at least for me.  Morning prayers in the chapel. Silent prayer while working.  Evening prayers. Popping in and out of the chapel in addition to formal times.  Mass at noon for those who wished to attend.  A garden for the Theotokos.

Time stopped while I worked.  What felt like a minute was an hour then hours.  It was a really, really nice treat to have no other responsibilities other than embroidery.  I was spoiled for a week.

Silence is the preferable sound in the workshop.  Idle and soft chatter is distracting and while I participated in it I made loads of mistakes.

The goal was precision and as close to perfection as possible.  Even though I felt that while working on a floral motif, I wondered if that is felt more so when working on a saint of a church.

The Apostles handed down the Tradition of the Faith to us through the Church.  It gave me pause to think about the fact that I was learning the same work that the ancients used on ecclesial items for the Church.

I am sooooooooo signing up for another workshop next summer!!!  Oh yea!

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5 thoughts on “A Week of Embroidery: Reflections

  1. I remember talking once with someone who had acquired a Ph.D. in Philosophy. When I asked him what his dissertation was about – I mean, what’s new in *Philosophy*?! – he said it was about Time, and how it doesn’t actually exist – and as proof of his thesis, he offered the experience of being engrossed in something that is so absorbing, you actually lose track of time while you’re dong it. That’s what your post reminded me of.

    I’ve been in touch with Mary about an Orthodox retreat site here in NH – much more livable than your accommodations at St. Thomas, but I don’t know if she will feel we can afford it financially. I hope so, since it’s a fabulous site, and *really* conducive to a contemplative state – out in the middle of the woods!

  2. You’ve had an amazing experience and created a wonderful piece of art too!

  3. It sounds like it was truly wonderful. It is also so nice to gather together and to pray together. Sometimes I’ve found that to be one of the best part of a retreat or workshop.
    I can’t wait to see more of your work because what you’ve shown is quite lovely.

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