This week we chatted to Catriona about her stitching journey and her involvement with 52 Stitched Stories.
Catriona lives in Hamilton, in an urban area south of Glasgow, where she has worked as a primary school teacher and headteacher prior to her retirement. Her crafting began as a small child, spending time with her Grandmother who was a tailor, and who taught her to use a treadle sewing machine at the age of four. The same treadle table now rests in her garden, a lovely reminder of her childhood years. Her Grandmother also taught her to handstitch, and from her Catriona developed a sense of reusing and recycling, nothing would be wasted. She told us how at an early age her Father’s naval coat was made into an outfit for her to wear at a wedding and this influence remains today as she is involved with the R:evolve Recycle project in Hamilton which runs swap shop boutiques, an antidote to high street fast fashion and reducing clothing waste.
Catriona enjoys knitting and quilting as well as handstitching. She volunteers as a tutor for a textiles project and is involved with the U3A and Embroidery Guild too. During the pandemic she has also been involved with making scrubs bags and masks.
In March 2020 Catriona became involved with 52 Stitched Stories after seeing posts from Claire Phillips’ Hope Jacare Facebook page, and her postcard journey began. At first her postcards were very precise but her style is now much freer. She enjoys kantha stitching and learned more about this through Fiona’s kantha course in the 52SS Academy. Kantha has become her favourite stitch but she is keen to keep learning new techniques, and enjoys following the process of making rather than focusing on the end product. Her postcards use materials that are upcycled, nothing is new. She saves textiles from being sent to landfill, using every piece that she can, zips, buttons, and the colour catchers from the washing machine, all becoming incorporated into her pieces.
From her first year of postcards, Catriona completed around 30, which may become a wallhanging, or a photobook, and some could be used as cards. For her second year of postcards, A Year to Heal and Recover, she is using a journal to track her progress and store her postcards and is up to date with this. She finds inspiration in ideas from magazines and books, and online, and she loves the sea. She believes in acknowledging her sources and always makes sure that credit is given for ideas she has taken as inspiration, and she is a supporter of local and emerging artists.
Catriona has found the community of 52 Stitched Stories to be a group of lovely people with a great feeling of positivity, and advice given in a friendly way. As we never know why someone is making postcards, or what the reasons might be behind being involved in our community, this supportive atmosphere of gentle encouragement is very important. Catriona’s advice to new members is to put some thread into a needle and sew, and as we know that is how the journey begins.
Thank you so much to Catriona for sharing her story with us. We hope it encourages others to begin stitching.
Thank you to Judy & Lorraine for working with members to get their stitched stories told.