road sewing, feedback loops and accidental amulets

amulets stitched from antique textiles

 Life rewards action, give it a chance and it will show up with happy accidents. The minute you do something, take some action, a feedback loop begins. You get information. Begin, listen and respond. This week I accidentally made some necklaces or amulets or talismans or charms or pendants,  I’m not sure what to call them yet. I know I like making them and I like how they feel, I like looking at them and putting them on and I’m sure they are lucky.  And I know that continents and centuries collide in these saved and assembled scraps. They are a happy accident in lots of ways.

colorful fabric pendants made from antique textiles

 I did not start with the intention to make something to wear and historically speaking I never wear anything extra, anything purely decorative, but as I experimented that idea crept in and  they began to remind me of scapulars. If you were educated by nuns you know what those are.

colorful fabric pendants made from antique textiles

This was also perfect road sewing, they don’t require a lot of stuff so they are easy to travel with. It continues to be far too hot so I did the only reasonable thing and fled NYC. Sewing amulets by the pool was just right. 

colorful threads on an old burgandy table with chipped paint

Plus there was sweet and thorough help, he checked everything. A lot.

cat paws on the sewing table

cat in the scrap basket

misty pool with sea serpent floatie

I’m making more little experiments and they continue to be an excellent place for letting ideas percolate and surface, they are a good thinking tool. I’m thinking about paintings and preparing for my next workshop at squam which is very much concerned with idea generation and experimenting.

I’ll leave you with my favorite shot of the pool, I like my pools a little moody, a little melancholy. This image makes me think of one of my most favorite films “The Swimmer”. I think I’ll watch it for the millionth time tonight.

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  1. I read the book called “The Swimmer”. Its about a girl who was born to be a swimmer, and could swim like a mermaid even when she was a baby. But she turned a little moody in the pre-adolescent phase of her life and that’s when the book begins to tell her story. Is the that same story as the film you are going to watch? It was a very good book.

  2. P.S. I love your lucky charms amulets, talismen, memory keepers, pendants, necklaces, ornaments, beautiful stitchery, witches pockets, medicine pouches, dream makers…

  3. I saw these on instagram and they helped to get me get over my latest episode of ‘brain freeze’. Like you, I gathered together scraps of fabric and lace etc, started putting bits together and things finally started to gel. So thank you.

  4. Oh ann, these are beautiful, evocative and filled with the weight of history, yet as light as air. I just ordered three. Because I hate regretting later.
    They will fly at squam so bring lots and lots
    I love little things I never meant to create, please catch a few of my flash stories at I never meant to write them and although i hold intention holy,
    It’s fun to travel light,
    Much love and grateful to be alive at the same time as you

    • How do you order them? Are you on Etsy? Thanks

  5. I love these, too. I do similar stitching, loosely based on Boro stitching, and glue them to the front of blank note books.

    I love your emails dropping into my in box. Always full of inspiration. Thank you.


  6. I love your website! Thank you for sharing!
    I am thinking about your next workshop in France!
    Regards from Spain!

  7. Waltraut Bellwald

    I wanted to bye your songbird pattern, but was directet to etsy and I dont want to do business with etsy. I thought I could directly order the pattern from you and pay with paypal. I am living in switzerland, that is not EU!
    I am an admirer of your work, especially your crows, your materials and your artwork since many years.
    Kind regards

  8. Kathleen Day

    This inspires me! I work at a library and we’re throwing a lot of books away (after offering them for sale, giving away to friends, and putting them out to just take). I’ve been ripping off the book cloth when we lose an old book and this gives me a great idea for gifts for my fellow librarians. Thanks!

  9. These are wonderful. What a wonderful place to sew, outdoors surrounded by nature, sunlight and water.

  10. Yes! Scapulars. Or “scapulars”. I’ve also made some with the same inspiration. They are fun to wear. Comforting, in a way. Thanks for the inspiring post.

  11. PJ Taylor

    So lovely I wish you would do an on line class. I’m sure you would have a great response!

  12. Chris Weiner

    Lauren Teller. I just love what you said to Ann about it being a great time to be alive when she is. If more people would cherish their relationships with others with this type enthusiasm, our world would be a much better place to thrive in. I’ll put this to practice. Thank you.
    Chris Weiner

    • I think you two are onto something wonderful. Oh my, how our world needs any love we can offer! I’ll be joining you in your affirming attitude.

  13. Janet Wright

    I made something similar for people who were going through medical trauma. I made them as bags ( tiny) I gave our textile group small pieces of paper to write something uplifting to the person–put them in the bag and gave it to her. She opened one each day she had chemo.
    I love your blog and ideas

  14. Nothing like a little cat fur to make your amulets extra lucky 😉

  15. Michele Morris

    Dear Ann Wood, I am in love with your amulets. Do you have any instructions for making them? If you do, could you please send me some info on how to get the instructions.
    Thank you, Michele Morris

  16. Ann – Your work and blog are always an inspiration. Your crows are a personal fave. Thanks for the Throwback Thursday repeat of these amazing amulet/scapular creations (scapulets?). They are really getting my creative juices flowing. I love small hand-sewing projects, and these seem so carefree and meditative. I will certainly be making some of these.

  17. Cindy Owings

    Thanks for this ‘old’ post about the ‘back story’ of your lucky charms! Your work & thoughtfulness inspires!

  18. Beverly Colson

    Ditto to all if the comments about how you inspire us! I look forward to each one.

  19. Love your work but the photos I really like are the ones with your work station! Little bits of scrabbly tit-bits, spool with a few inches, well loved scissors… all on an outdoor table where you can pause and watch a robin fly over or a spider make his way across the table!

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