Yesterday I started work on the second Native American-inspired needlepoint designs. This one I’m calling my health needlepoint. It’s focal point is the Zuni fetish of a Medicine Bear (pictured above), my favorite.
The Medicine Bear represents powerful healing to the Zuni. It’s always in this rounded form, and usually has the arrow and often has a small offering of feathers or stones attached at the top. While this is a popular fetish, my favorite carver of medicine bears is Stuart Quandalacy, I think his stuff is stunning.
Anyway back to the needlepoint. The design is going to fit into a Stirling leather tool tote which is in my stash. A medicine bear in a shade of Impressions that reminds my of a type of Agate with a turquoise arrow will be in the lower right corner. I’m thinking of stitching it in an Offset Scotch to mimic the striations in many stones.
The remainder of the needlepoint is going to be a patchwork of patterns from Native American baskets, mostly from Alaska and British Columbia, although they are pretty universal. They will be stitched in black Vineyard Merino and straw colored Lorikeet and are Bargello adaptations of the patterns found on the baskets, which are made by coiling.
My plan, which is a big jump for me in designing, is not to plan to size of each patch in advance. I’m going to work on them as I go along, fitting each one into place around the bear. I’ve got several pages of drawings of basket patterns from a Dover book as well as some others for picking the designs.
With the strong focal point and unity of thread, it should look good.
So why is this a health needlepoint? Largely it’s because over the next couple of months, I’m hoping to be doing lots of healing myself. I’ve suffered from mild to moderate fibromyalgia virtually all my life and I’m be starting a treatment program for it today. Since I’ll be spending plenty of time in the car and waiting around, I’m figuring I’ll need needlepoint and it would be good to be stitching on things which would keep me mindful of relaxing and getting better.
Besides the fact that I just love the idea behind this. It will be an ebook later in the year, with this project along with additional Bargello patterns based on baskets.