365 Days of Hand Stitching

Can a stitch surprise itself at the instant of making? Over the course of 2017, I used a simple set of rules to generate a work where my hands and my memory made marks, without the intervention of my sight. The rules were stitch daily and stitch with my eyes closed.

The year’s marks read as a map of my mind and hands finding their way across a bounded space. While the viewer may not be able to handle the work, the urge to touch it is palpable. Deliberately choosing to remove visual control over my mark making goes against established aesthetics of women’s handwork, where precision and neatness of stitching is the accepted sign of accomplishment. Stitching this way allows a slow accumulation of complex marks to spread across both sides of the work without
pre-determined outcomes. The unexpected interactions between the various colours and threads would not have been achieved if I allowed my sight to rule the actions of my hands.

‘365 Days’ was selected as a finalist in the 2019 Dobell Drawing Prize.


At the end of the first 100 days the work looked like this.


The second 100 days of stitching is documented here.


This is the piece as it looked at the end of 200 days of stitching. 

The final version of the piece, at 365 days, looked like this.

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A stitch in the dark

Stitching with my eyes closed