Partnership Is Better

By Margaret Briscoe, NAN-certified judge
This article first appeared in NANthology, the NAN newsletter, in fall 2000. Click here to see the original publication.

I feel luxurious and full of potential! I am now on my way to becoming the star of the best needle art work ever done! How grand to be the star of something well thought out, well designed, and balanced. It is the culmination of my life. The stitcher revels in my softness, my luxuriant color, and the smoothness of my fiber … I am happy!

But now for weeks (or maybe months) I have been languishing here in the drawer abandoned, forsaken, and left to ponder why. I feel denied my destiny and unfulfilled. I am no longer the center of the small universe I call my design orientated world. I am desolate.

Wait! Gentle fingers are reaching for me. I am out into the light of day again and near others. It is the reason for my being and I am happy again. Will this last? Yes, I am being matched to the others in ways I have never dreamed were possible. Tints, shades, tones, and textures are being carefully thought out and planned in such a way that all are supporting me in a design I can be proud of and become the star of … how wonderful!

Many long hours have gone by and many stitches have been considered and some discarded; too much texture; not enough light refraction; not the right direction; all these things are so important to the fulfillment of my destiny and proper design. Do they relate well to me? Are we working together? Not one of us is meant to overwhelm the other, yet I am to be the one to carry the main element and wonder “Can it be done properly”… only time will tell.

How this designer has struggled, stitched, laid me ever so carefully only to rip out and start again. What do “one-point open space,” “couching stitches,” “proper diagonal,” and so many other words that are strange and almost scary to hear really mean? I am confused, but this stitcher seems to know what is going on; so I will be content just to feel the reassuring touch of this wondrous tool that is so very smooth and cool.

Planning, designing, stitching, and framing are at last done. Why then am I being handled, talked about, and scrutinized so by these people? Am I not the star of this piece of artwork? No, they say how well it all works together and what a difference the fine stitching makes. I know that the stitcher did a fine job of capturing my delicate shading, by laying me on just the right angle, and that it is important that this was done; but I still feel I am the star as I made it look as though several shades of my golden yellow color were used when it only just me in all my unique beauty. Or am I wrong? The studious selection of tints, tones, and shades to accompany me, the deliberate selection of stitches and the care taken in the proper execution of these stitches, coupled with the agonizing decisions over framing are all a part of the whole as am I. Yes, I am only a part of what has become a lovely example of needle art work.

Blue does look good on us, don’t you think?