Re-discovering Embroidery

I embroidered this thimble in broderie anglaise. Design by Zinaida Kazban

Why Embroidery?

A couple of years ago, my cousin mentioned to me that she was re-learning to knit.

The idea of taking up a crafting hobby sounded good to me, I was looking to unplug from my phone and my computer, and keep my hands busy, so I decided to give embroidery another try.

Having attended a school run by nuns in Colombia during my childhood, we had a manual arts class (along with algebra, history, geography and computer science) where we had to learn to embroider.

When I was a child, I hated embroidery. I loved computer coding, it was what I wanted to do. But now, 30 years later after a career in IT, I was going back to embroidery to get a break from technology.

Apparently I am not the only one. Doing a search on crafting, knitting, or embroidery, yields many posts. People are showing off their projects on Instagram and Pinterest. They are teaching others how to knit, crochet, weave, and of course, to embroider.

I rejected the fiber arts when I was a child because I wanted to dedicate myself to technology, which promised progress and riches. But now that I am older, I am reconnecting with the crafts of my youth, which promise calm and a connection to the past.

In the olden days, the fiber arts were one of the few spaces where women could express themselves, and that was the reason I rejected them when I was young; I saw embroidery as repressive.

But now I can see that the fiber arts are not repressive. The times when women were ONLY allowed to sew, embroider, weave, knit, and spin were repressive. Those women created beautiful art, developed mastery, and built a sense of identity.

Despite having today more career opportunities than my grandmothers did in their days, I am revisiting their art to enjoy what they enjoyed and connect with them.