Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Appreciating the small things…

Casa Batlo Rooftop

A year ago this week we visited Barcelona. What inspiration and constant state of wonder one is in when walking Las Ramblas and capturing details of Gaudi’s architecture. Going back is on my “bucket list” but for now I appreciate the small things at home.

Thank you to all who took the time to comment on my last blog entry. I appreciate your support and insights. It has given me a motivational boost and prompted my first clean up of the studio in two months. Feels good to know that I have space to move the furniture around for when we install the new floor. My quilts for the special exhibition and samples for classes are packed and all I have to gather are the clothes for next week. I am not sure if I can live with the the 30 degree increase in temperature from here to Orlando…

I have made a list of things to do… it is long and growing steadily. One of the items on this list is to prepare a presentation for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival. My talk will be focused on the slow stitching movement in general. I have a basic outline in my head but I know how it takes off in one direction or another once I actually get down to fleshing it out with images and metaphors.

Just today I was thinking about hand stitching and its meditative nature. I have returned to journaling. A blog is a journal in a way, but I find that  writing into a beautifully bound book by hand is so much more rewarding. I am concerned with my script. It has suffered a lot with using the computer for most correspondence. I have bought a fabulous fountain pen last May at the Paint Spot in Edmonton. It is my preferred pen when I open the journal.

There are strong parallels I draw  between the deliberate act of mark making when writing, drawing and stitching. It all demands time and focus. When I slow down and employ a mindful approach to picking up the pen, charcoal and/or needle and thread it feels as if my heart and breathing slow down as well. This is what represents “being in the moment” at its best for me.

I ask myself the question “Why do I rush from project to project, sample to sample?” Sometimes I find a sample in my reference library that I have forgotten about. Just imagine: I plain forgot that I made it. Luckily… I still have the mental power to slowly recall and conjure up an approximate timeline for creating the piece. At the same time it saddens me, as I also recall that something I create usually brings me joy and an immense feeling of satisfaction. Why not let this feeling linger a bit longer and completely absorb into my tactile and emotional memory?

Compiling background information and creating samples for my Kantha book remind me of how important slowing down really is. I have decided to create samples for several of the illustrations I used in hand outs and the eBook. Yes, it will take me longer to create and carefully photograph each example but it will also add depth to the final publication.

Are you embracing a slower pace? What have you done or what are you working on these days? Are you discovering hand-quilting? Is hand-applique rapidly becoming you new passion? Or are you taking time to sketch and draw? Share what pulls you to creating more by hand, or why you choose not to return to a slower pace…

This entry was published on January 3, 2016 at 8:10 am. It’s filed under Art, Creativity Update, Journaling, Motivational, Networking, Refocusing Creativity, staying in touch and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

12 thoughts on “Appreciating the small things…

  1. Shirley on said:

    What more can go wrong!? But so pleased to read that you might be slowing down, I just can’t keep up with you. Meanwhile I am still plodding along hand quilting.
    I am amazed that whatever you touch,/ buy seems to turn to gold, your Christmas tree and all the ornaments are gorgeous.


    • Thanks, Shirley. Not so sure about your statement about things turning into gold… Look beyond the glitter and life for us is pretty ordinary. Heat at home is fixed and back on just in time for snow!


  2. Hi Anna,

    I have so enjoyed all your blog and photography over the last year. I’m sorry I haven’t contacted you to say so.
    Yes I am embracing a slower pace but not for the usual reason the rest of your quilting friends have told you. Year of cancer treatments are over and for now I am Cancer free!!!
    It didn’t come easily as I had many complications, including almost dying after a post surgery hemorrhage, 3 days in ICU and another 7 days before getting home. Believe you me that this experience has made me re-evaluate my reason for being and also eliminating a lot of things from my life so I can just slow down and enjoy family. Mind you I will always be quilting as I consider it one of my reasons for being. And thank you for introducing me to art quilting man-years ago!!

    Happy New Year! Karen J


    • Karen, thank you for taking the time to weigh in. I appreciate you sharing your personal journey so openly. I was not aware of your health struggles. I am glad to read that your focus on health is paying off with a “cancer free” diagnosis. Congratulations! Health issues will force us to re-evaluate our lives whether it is our personal health or one of our loved ones that may have been struck. I often wonder why it takes a wake-up all to make us stop, slow down and/or change direction.
      Your keen interest in Art Quilting brought you to the classes at Addies in 2003… I was just one person to facilitate along the way. Wishing you the best for 2016 – stay well and stay strong and Happy Quilting.


  3. Gillian on said:

    Oh, Anna, no heat in a Saskatchewan winter! How dreadful. Get in the car and come to Saskatoon and stay til your part arrives. I know people who would come for a party with you. Even though we just took down the tree we will still be festive.
    I’m serious!


    • Gillian – we can’t really leave here – the water lines might freeze. We don’t want the house unattended. We spent the day warming up in the studio (which has heat!) putting down some new flooring… about half-way done… will finish when I get home from Florida. – Thank you for the very kind offer to warm up at your house! And we will have to do the party thing maybe later this month… thinking of coming to Saskatoon for the weekend after I get back from the US.


  4. Marilyn/Serafina on said:

    I agree with you Anna, I have always loved hand stitching and always have a piece of embroidery or hand stitching going on the side , for travel and long car trips. I love it .i meditate a lot and stitching by hand is a very meditative thing to do. I would love to run a retreat where we meditate, do lots of hand stitching and eat simply all within an atmosphere of peace and quiet.wouldn’t that be great?


    • Thanks for this, Marilyn… Art Quilt Campus at the Muenster location we have been at for two years now offers such options! Many students venture off on their own, attend the chanting in the chapel or spend time meditating in the gardens. I know I come home more rested from a place like that. I make daily walks during the lunch hour and in the evenings a habit when I am at the monastery.
      Let’s think on a more meditative approach to an alternate Art Quilt Campus… thanks for planting the seed.


  5. Ann Atchison on said:

    You’re so right Anna! I have always thought that quilting is about the journey not the destination. Like Cathy, one of my favourite steps in making a quilt is sewing on the binding. Looking forward to starting Katja’s new hexagon quilt-a-long. Have a good trip and enjoy the sunshine and warm temperatures. It will be awhile before we see temperatures like that here.


    • Hi Ann, I guess we all belong to the same club – enjoying the journey IS the most important part of creating a quilt or an embroidery, a painting or anything else we can create by hand. Have fun with the new quilt. Can’t wait to get to the warmer climate – we have had no heat in our house since New Year’s eve… the replacement part for the furnace is not in till Tuesday at the earliest. After three days without heat the house is getting very uncomfortable… brrrrrr.


  6. Cathy Willoughby on said:

    Hi Anna,
    One of my favourite steps in quilt making is hand sewing the binding and label to the back. Its a chance to slow down and appreciate what I’ve made. Also, I have started another counted cross stitch which will probably become a pillow front. I do a little at night, in front of the tv but I don’t feel I have to do it every night, just when I feel the need to stitch.


    • Cathy, I can relate. I am always amazed at how many quilters don’t like finishing their bindings and adding the label by hand. It IS calming and adds to the feeling of satisfaction of finishing a quilt with respect. I love your approach to your cross stitch project. You have made it a project that will bring joy, and you have taken the pressure off by making it something you WANT to do…. not something that has to get finished. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Happy stitching!


Share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: