I have, in the past, called myself a needlework dilettante (or a craft dilettante, but I always seem to put them back into my stitching, or my stitching into my other crafts…) But recently I have begun looking at this as less of a detriment and more of a benefit to myself and my growth as an artist.
I was listening to a program on NPR last week and a historian stated about a past scientist that made great inroads into Astronomy, and who happened to be an insurance man in his day job, that “back then you could be more than just a scientist – you didn’t need to specialize like you do now.” I found myself taking issue with that statement, both in science, and in other lifetime pursuits (like my needlework).
In science, many many discoveries have been made by so-called “amateurs,” even recently. (Note the elementary school students who did original research on bees and were published in the Royal Society Journal). Of course, the scholarly world of academia tends to frown on this – as they also tend to dislike anything that is written in a way that normal people can understand. <sigh>
But that’s actually not my point in this rambling post! My point is that experimenting with your needlework styles — trying out different types of embroidery and then trying to combine them into work of your own, is the best way to truly take your work to the next level. And mine, too. If you do mostly cross stitch, try a small redwork piece. If you do mostly historic reproductions, try adapting one in a modern style. Try out new things, new types of needlework. I’ve realized that that’s been my goal ever since I started REALLY stitching way back when I was 12! And I’m going to take it even further this year. And to share my voyages. First stop – crewelwork shower curtain! (With a pause to finish the pseudo-ivory work flower I’ve been working on!)