Stitch No. 2

Kelly M O'Brien,  Stitch, No. 2  detail. Paper, thread, glue. 20 x 28 inches | 50 x 70 cm. ©2019

Kelly M O'Brien, Stitch, No. 2 detail. Paper, thread, glue. 20 x 28 inches | 50 x 70 cm. ©2019

Earlier this year I started experimenting and introduced Stitch, a new series that celebrates the beauty of stitching into paper. As with my Playing With Fire series, this work will explore form, line, texture, and pattern using simple materials that transform in surprising ways.

As with nearly all of my new work, the materials lead me to what the final piece would be. For Stitch No. 2, I started out with some sketches, gave one a try. Failed. Tried another. No good. It was only when I started playing around with the sewing machine and let go of outcomes that something interesting happened.

Kelly M O'Brien,  Stitch, No. 2  detail. Paper, thread, glue. 20 x 28 inches | 50 x 70 cm. ©2019

Kelly M O'Brien, Stitch, No. 2 detail. Paper, thread, glue. 20 x 28 inches | 50 x 70 cm. ©2019

The pierced ruffled edges of the individual elements was a complete accident. My original focus was on making a landscape of stitched circles, exploring pattern, accumulated materials, mass and dimension. As the needle wandered between stitched mounds, I noticed how the paper started to deteriorate in interesting ways. And then when I pulled the elements apart, a little magic happened at the edges!

Kelly M O'Brien,  Stitch, No. 2  detail. Paper, thread, glue. 20 x 28 inches | 50 x 70 cm. ©2019

Kelly M O'Brien, Stitch, No. 2 detail. Paper, thread, glue. 20 x 28 inches | 50 x 70 cm. ©2019

I’d like to say that I know how Stitch No. 3 will turn out but until I start interacting with the materials, I have no idea. As Julia Cameron says in The Artists Way, I’ll take care of the quantity (of time, attention) and let Spirit take care of the quality. The most interesting work happens this way.