Thoughts about the shape and form and significance of the circle have been going round and round in my mind and have formed a kind of whirlpool of ideas that I can’t quite pin down. Strange times call for strange posts about strange thoughts. I have been appreciating seasonal certainties and am ever grateful for my garden with its regular tasks like sweeping up fallen leaves and pruning shrubs before winter leaves the southern hemisphere.
Stitching, too, provides a sense of certainty. My response to this week’s TextileArtist.org Stitch Club tutorial was this ‘unintended’ circle :
The challenge from Gregory T. Wilkins certainly nudged me out of my comfort zone. He urged us to get rid of the blank page by first making marks on paper or cloth with paints, pens, or anything else to hand. I recently treated myself to a small set of Inktense pencils and blocks and used them to create the background on a piece of lightweight, wet canvas. When it was dry I started to stitch a small circle with fine tapestry wool. The circle became bigger and bigger as I settled into the good feeling of the sharp needle gliding surprisingly easily through the canvas. Then I decided to weave gold thread under the longer stitched rows and finally bordered the circle with two rows of gold stitches to define the round shape. I enjoyed the kantha-style stitching more than the painting (!) and am happily surprised to have made a shining sun against the dark background.
The circle is, of course, a weighty symbol. It is also a rich word and I looked it up (as is my wont) in the OED and was delighted to be reminded of some of its meanings and associations : a perfectly round plane figure; an imaginary circle on the celestial sphere or terrestrial globe; a ring; a luminous ring in the sky; a halo; the orbit of a planet; a fairy-ring; area on a playing field, court, or rink; dark mark below the eye; a crown; circus ring; a ring of standing stones; curved tier of seats in a theatre; the area of influence or action; a vicious circle; a class or division of society; a spiritual seance; a railway or road forming a closed loop; circle dance.
To return to the theme of gardening, I have constructed a paved circular path in my garden during the COVID lockdown. My gardening-stitching friend who is also a wordsmith referred to it as a flat cairn when I told her I was collecting flat stones during my daily walks through the veld (bush). It is a perfect description for this marker (or reminder) of the days of lockdown. After those first 21 days of complete lockdown I and my dog were so pleased to be able to walk in the wilds.
Tomorrow (25 July) there is another TRADE at Home virtual market on Facebook and I have made a new batch of draught excluders and a baby quilt for my “market table”.
NOTE to my regular readers. I inadvertently found the umlaut button and so next time can type lamé correctly. Yay!