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The quiet disruption of the stitch.

This is the writing that accompanies this body of work.

The Quiet Disruption of the Stitch …



I thought this was about something different - I thought there was a disconnect, a jarring between medium and message - I thought it was a self absorbed folly - but it isn't - it is a testament to women - to the socio-political conditioning that women have faced since they began stitching - a testament to the expectations and restrictions placed upon women as they picked up the needle - a testament to the hours fireside and in candlelight - a testament to the worth of the female voice - a testament to the value of my voice - a testament to my power - so watch as I quietly disrupt.



Stitch: a definition 



A loop of thread of yarn resulting from a single pass or movement of the needle in sewing, knitting or crocheting. 



Make, mend, join together, stitching 


Synonyms :

Sew, baste, tack, seam, hem, sew up, repair, mend, darn.



Cast off, unfasten, disjoin, unbelt, unbutton, unbuckle, unsew, unpick.





The shame of being me tears through my soul - ravenous for every morsel of self belief that exists. Its parasitic state feeds on me - feeds from my soul. An urge - an uneaten part of me - a spark, an ember - it flickers within the transparent husk - quietly disrupting the status quo- quietly disrupting the eco system of dismay. 


Watch as I quietly disrupt - Watch as I quietly disrupt - the work is calling. The work is calling to be finished. The work is calling to be released. Watch as I quietly disrupt.


I am awake to all that I carry and I cry hot, salty tears that burn my cheeks as they race towards my mouth. 


I see them watching me - hastily trying to abate my tears. No one is watching me - versions of myself that have gone before - waiting for to emerge from where I am - watching for me to feel my power and live it. 


Watch as I quietly disrupt - the work is not complete as the words are not done- they swim around in my head - they are liquid - pockets of thoughts - self contained - that are not yet ready to collide and merge with each other. I look towards my breath and I feel it - the rain crashing - colliding with everything in its path. 


As I stitch into the 100 year old cloth - I think of the women who have stitched before me. All the women who sat fireside – stitching, telling the stories of their lives and making their mark in history. Stitching acceptable function for women - no threat - but the needle told a different story - just as the pen and the rostrum did for men - the needle was the mouthpiece of the woman. Quiet, unquestioned, invisible, unsuspecting- women quietly sitting, stitching without deletion- their challenge to the patriarchy invisible- the quiet disruption of the stitch. 


I am one of these women - I am unsuspecting- I am quiet- never suspected- well presented- always masking with a Disney smile. 


I feel the needle between my fingers - I have been at it for hours - pouring my frustration into this work - the quiet disruption- I watch myself at the frame - watching for a true connection - a glimmer.


I feel it - the markings on my thumb and forefinger- the needle has made its mark. I see the threads journey before it is made - the tiny knots snaking their way across the landscape in front of me - a disruption to the taut fabric - the disruption to the familiar.


The puncture sound of the needle is heightened in the quiet of the studio. The evening silence rapidly approaching as it darkens and the day makes its last escape - leaving with no trace.


The rhythmic nature sets me in a trance - where my thoughts are free to dance in my head without landing and taking root. The fabric stretched across its frame is groaning as it absorbs the quiet disruption of the thread and the weight of my life.


An abundance of musings swim in my head- what is the purpose - what is my purpose - I am a woman stitching as so many women before me have done - I am a woman stitching my soul into this very fabric - every puncture of the cloth is a reminder of the parts of my life and the complexity of me demonstrated by the stitch. I didn’t expect this from me and I am watching my quiet disruption. 


Every stitch is a word - every stitch is a moment of sheer frustration - every stitch is a mark of doubt - every stitch is a pause while I take a breath - every stitch shows my fear - each one is a battle against conformity- everyone is an act of defiance - every stitch shows my virtue- every stitch shows that I will no longer put up with things as they are. 


The turbulence of life and the lives we live in our single existence leave their mark on our soul - our fragile yet resilient soul - just as the stitch it can be unpicked but the mark always remains. 


Hannah Turlington: September 2023

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