Sunday, 25 October 2009

Busy Wasting My Time - The Mrs Delany Dilemma

Here I am on Sunday busy wasting my time. I'm stitching. The work will never be hung on my wall, nor anyone else's, let alone a gallery. It is just an experiment. It is not ready to show, but I'm quite pleased with the way it is going, so if anyone were to knock on the door, they would find an agreeable and not a grumpy person. All is garnered to feed the family at lunchtime. I am fortunate, I don't have to walk two miles to find fresh water, I don't have to cut down scrub to fire up the family oven. Food does not have to be hunted except from the back of the fridge. There are no sick or poor people nearby to visit today. I could be reading an improving book, but I did that for a while last night and I am still wondering, as I stitch, how the world can benefit from my recently improved mind - or would it want to? But then I am not a young person....but neither was Mrs Delany - she was 73 when she began her paper mosaics. Question: Do old ladies waste time? Do old men waste time? Was Picasso wasting his time? Was Mrs Delany wasting her time in a different way to Picasso? Let's talk about these things.....


  1. No we are not wasting time. We have interests. No one has to visit us because we are too busy stitching. We are happy , our families are happy, they can live there own lives. I'm 77 and I am sure my family is happy I stitch. Beverly

  2. One of the reasons the needlearts have survived the test of time is that they are not a waste of time. Things that are a waste of time go by the wayside. They don't survive.

    Art and craft are among the higher abilities humanity possesses. No other creature on earth could make a Mary Wigham sampler, and we have that ability - that gift - for a reason. We aren't supposed to waste it.

    Even when the work does not seem to be for something "useful," it's still not a waste of time. After all, is art supposed to be "useful"? Honing a craft, perfecting a skill, exploring and learning about an art - all of these pursuits are worthy of spending time on. Though the world today has a rather pragmatic approach to knowledge and learning, it seems false to say that the only things worth knowing and doing are those things that are "useful."

    Well, that's my take on it. So no, I don't think we could call stitching or the needlearts in general a waste of time.

    Oh sheesh. I'd have a TON of time to account for, if it were!!!

  3. First I reject the premis sthat stitching is ever a waste of time.

    And considering I have 3 quilts stitched by my great-great Grandmother at the end of her life when she was an old lady; I consider her time well spent.

  4. I don't think time spent on anything that makes me happy is a waste of time - even if I'm delaying more needed pursuits. I think that our elderly citizens have a lot to teach us. If a senior is spending his/her time stitching, sewing, crafting we should stop and pay attention as older people tend to have their priorities in order. At the end of the day, if my dishes are clean that does not mean that I've had a meaningful experience or worked on a product that someone will treasure. At this point in my life, it's more about balance after many years of my work and life being out of balance.

  5. generally from good thoughts, good actions,
    from good actions, good thoughts

    stitching is always a good action in my mind
    and certainly leads me to think and ponder in good ways
    can you really stitch while angry...i am thinking about it

  6. Nothing that I enjoy is a waste of time...even reading and writing blogs!
    Certainly stitching or other acts of artistic creation are a good utilization of time and materials. Persons of a "ertain age" have the time to pursue these as many other responsibilities of youth are no longer pressing.

  7. We are bombarded with outside influences every day, from work, to TV, the internet, traffic jams, phone calls...feeding the spirit is shuffled aside. Quiet feeds the spirit, meditation feeds the spirit, and for a fortunate few of us, so does needlework. Feeding the spirit is not a waste of time. It enables us to cope with daily life. If we could spend more time feeding the spirit I think we would be much happier people...

  8. I find needlework necessary to my education. At first, as a child, it was pretty and decorative. Later when I taught myself knitting, sewing and needlework it was an accomplishment. Later again as I inspected the world of needlework I marvelled at the artistic design. I learnt patience and perserverance (good for the soul)with new techniques and in turn took my new patience into other life situations. I enjoy finding out where and why and how the old patterns came into being. I am filling up my brain with history. And I admire the many women who had a much more difficult life than me, but still found time to create.

  9. Cotton, wool, linen, silk..think of all the industries related to these natural fibers..and then add the man-made ones. We are in a cycle where we feel guilty for 'material things'--but material things are at the center of helping others, especially with employment. And if you give something you have made--you do give a piece of your heart.
    On a personal note, stitching can be relaxing. I like to travel, and I always go to local quilt stores. I remember looking up "Quilt" in the New York City yellow pages. It took a bit as I had to flip through pages and pages of psychologists and psychoanalists. Pages and pages. Quilting was about a 3" category on a lone page. People who stitch are pretty nice folks! We need more of them!
    Your articles are fascinating! It is so interesting to see the use of stitching in different eras and locations. I have learned so much from you! So please don't every doubt your value or your interests!

  10. i think that wasting time is in the eye of the beholder. Those who don't care about art will think it is a waste of time. I am sure there are those who see me sitting and stitching feel that i could be using my time more wisely. yet i am sure i could watch what they do day to day and find something they do is wasteful to me. it is all realative! i always feel the time i spend stitching gives me peace of mind and i come away feeling fulfilled and relaxed. what more could one ask for.