Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Always on the Lookout for More Time?

Kantha Fish by Helene Blanchet: She sent it yesterday with the following note - "Hi Anna,, Thought you might enjoy seeing a picture of the little Kantha sampler I started in 2012 in your workshop in Halifax. I had an awful lot of fun making this - don't know why it took so long!  Enjoy, Helene"

Kantha Fish by Helene Blanchet: She sent it yesterday with the following note – “Hi Anna,, Thought you might enjoy seeing a picture of the little Kantha sampler I started in 2012 in your workshop in Halifax. I had an awful lot of fun making this – don’t know why it took so long! Enjoy, Helene”

In the same lot of emails a blog post arrived from one of my favorite bloggers and the most talented Canadian photographer David duChemin. His post is titled Time Taken.

He opens with “When I encourage younger photographers to take their time it’s because we tend to be obsessed with doing things faster and too often the speed with which we do things subverts our mindfulness and creativity. It also sabotages the chance for relationships, which won’t hurt you if you’re shooting air shows, but when you’re making portraits, those relationships are everything. For me they are often the point of it all. Those relationships, whether you’re a touchy-feely person or not, can be the key that allows you the access you need…” (continue reading here)

A Sunday afternoon phone conversation with my good friend Theresa also touched on the topic on taking one’s time when creating, especially when it comes to quilt making. Theresa’s insight “We live in a time of instant gratification and things have to go fast and finish fast!” We didn’t solve the world’s problems but it provided me with several thoughts for this blog post.

Theresa and I have both witnessed “it” over the last 10 years, the phenomena of quantity versus quality and obsession over how fast one can finish another quilt top to send to one’s favorite “longarmer”. A great number of online instruction (free and fee related) deal with how to speed up, become more efficient at producing and showing off quilts at the next guild gathering.

New rulers and cutting aids explore onto the market to make cutting, trimming and assembly faster. I have the opportunity to see what is new regularly, especially when I attend quilt shows with vendor markets attached. I appreciate the plethora of choices, and each one is advertised as the newest and the best. I quietly observe and walk about the “super market of quilting tools ad fabrics” with ears and eyes wide open. I rarely shop as so much of what is offered adds undue weight to my already very full luggage.

What I do come away with is the over-stimulation of my quilting senses and a deep yearning for, the lack of a better term , “good old days”. Is it any surprise that the “slow stitching movement” is making steady inroads? I regularly visit the Slow Stitching Movement Blog which helps me re-define my objectives and personal goals.

Helene’s image of the Kantha sample started in my 2012 class. This Kantha workshop has become my most popular workshop since that spring in Halifax. I have noticed a definite increase in handwork classes, be it embroidery, embellishing, beading, finishing or specific techniques executed by hand such as Kantha and Molas. Handwork classes are filling from coast to coast, Canada’s Sunshine Coast, the Pacific Northwest, California to the Canadian Maritime region, New England and the Mid-Atlantic areas. Here is a link to upcoming workshops that include my Kantha and Mola workshops…

Not only are my handwork classes enjoying increased interest, I see greater attendance in other stitching classes with various instructors as well. Slowing down, reflecting, assessing, being in the moment and enjoying the process is what I strive for. With a second week in the studio without too many distractions I feel I am back in the groove, I am working blissfully painting fabric, adding marks with various devices including needles, machine embellishments and hand stitches. I feel at peace and detect an inner joy coupled with a smile when I become fully aware – most of the time I am one with my fabric, the needle and threads.

What are your thoughts on slowing down and embracing the project on hand fully, not rushing trough strip piecing or competing with a friend through a mystery quilt to see who might be first… Weigh in with comments and views. All are welcome and will be acknowledged!


My email conversation with Helene Blanchet (maker of the today’s featured image) continued:

I inquired whether I could use the image for my blog post. Here is her answer:

“Yes, of course!

I  came home from Montreal and it (the sample) was the only thing on my design wall so I had to finish it. As I was working I realized it was really about designing with line, so I got all Klee’d up and am working some stuff out for a small piece to add to my line studies that’s inspired by Klee’s line drawings and Kantha! It has aeoniums all over it! Hah!

My mind has been such a-swirl with this (design) class!

Cheers, Helene

(Note: Helena was a participant in my Introduction to Design workshop in Calgary from Nov. through Jan this winter. Paul Klee was one of her study subjects.)

This entry was published on March 30, 2015 at 1:55 pm. It’s filed under Art, Creativity Update, Design, In the News, Journaling, Networking, Refocusing Creativity, Sharing Resources, Special Project and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

10 thoughts on “Always on the Lookout for More Time?

  1. Helene Blanchet on said:

    There’s is something very zen and meditative about the slow rhythms of fine handwork. It makes you sit with a bit of work that much longer, and our natural rhythms stimulate the originality of a piece, it’s organicity. No two pieces can ever be the same, even from the same maker, as that bit of time has gone and the maker will be in different circumstances, in a different mood the next time.


  2. Katina on said:

    Good discussion. I am amazed at all the pre cuts and now lazer cut applique pieces. It takes the thinking and self expression out of the process. I enjoy spending time with the fabric, cutting, sewing, and definitely hand work. Unfortunately my hands are not enjoying the finer work.


    • Katina, thank you for adding another “dimension” to the discussion – pre-cut and lazer-cut motifs… they indeed take away originality in design. As our fingers are no longer to execute the fine work we make adjustments. Larger stitches and the deliberate “large stitch” have been part of my Kantha inspired work for years.


  3. Marilyn on said:

    I love this post about taking time . Sometimes I put a lot of pressure on myself to make things quickly so I could go on to the next piece. Reflecting on this I realize it is because I am getting older, time is flying by so quickly and I came to this love of my life “textile art “only 5 years ago and I feel I have to do so much catching up. But now I am stopping that and doing a lot of handwork/stitching at least a little every day , makes such a difference. I have even noticed in our guilds a renewed interest in stitching, which is great.
    Thank you Anna for this post .,I will share it with my fellow stitchers. As always a thoughtful piece.


    • You are welcome for the post, Marilyn and thank YOU for sharing it among your friends. It seems to be working – I have not had so many hits on the blog in a long time!
      I recall vividly your time at the first Art Quilt Campus when you were spending your week hand stitching and creating small gems – only to be in such high demand to sell out during our informal artisan’s mall one night… handwork is in great demand and always garners attention. So many quilters think they have to work large to receive the recognition… it is far from reality!


  4. alicebrody on said:

    Hi Anna. I saw Mary Butler at our guild quilt show on Saturday and she told me that she was so pleased to meet you in person, and does plan to figure out dates for you to come lecture and teach here.

    That would, of course be really wonderful, and I want to let you know that you are so welcome to stay with me if you wish. I think I told you that I have a guest room with it’s own bath, so there is privacy.

    I was so very sorry about the snafu the last time!!

    So, hope to see you here in NYC. Love, Alice



    • Alice – so wonderful to hear from you! And yes, I have been meaning to write to you after I met up with Mary in New Jersey. I know in my heart that we will connect, and how could I ever turn down such a wonderful offer to stay with you in New York! I hope to see you at Quilting by the Lake in July!


  5. Hermina Joldersma on said:

    Absolutely, Anna – right on! I’ve so much enjoyed my four months with the London ON Chapter of the Embroiderers Guild, because we “slow stitch” all the time – even if some techniques for doing things a little more efficiently are always welcome. Hand-stitching is most relaxing and very satisfying indeed. Thanks!


    • Thanks for your experience with “slow stitching” Minnie! Life is good (and maybe a little less complicated) when we slow down and enjoy the moment practicing our embroidery stitches…


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